Cana­dian icon misses the Chi­nese cof­fee rush

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO -

Dur­ing her first trade mis­sion to China in 2014, the pre­mier of Canada’s On­tario prov­ince be­moaned the ab­sence of Tim Hor­tons in the coun­try.

“Clearly, we need a Tim Hor­tons fran­chise,” Kath­leen Wynne was quoted as telling univer­sity stu­dents, some of whom had at­tended Cana­dian schools.

For those who are un­fa­mil­iar with the name, “Tim­mie’s”, as the com­pany is af­fec­tion­ately called, is a na­tional in­sti­tu­tion in Canada.

From a sin­gle On­tario lo­ca­tion 53 years ago, the cof­fee-and-dough­nut chain has grown to be­come an in­dus­try leader with more than 4,600 stores in 10 coun­tries. Its most pop­u­lar of­fer­ing is the “Dou­ble Dou­ble”, a cof­fee with two serv­ings of su­gar and cream.

In 2008, the chain

This Day, That Year

Item­fromJuly18,1995,in Chi­naDaily:Chi­nais­likely topro­duce­more­color tele­vi­sion­set­sthisyearas do­mes­ticlarge-screen­color TVs­gain­grounda­gainst im­porte­donesin­fierce com­pe­ti­tion.

Thisyear,the­coun­try’s to­tal­pro­duc­tionof­col­orTV setswill­hit16.5mil­lion.

Amid a slow­down in do­mes­tic de­mand, Chi­nese tele­vi­sion man­u­fac­tur­ers are in­creas­ing their pres­ence in the global mar­ket. an­nounced its in­ten­tion to en­ter the lu­cra­tive Chi­nese mar­ket. Nine years on, the com­pany is still in the plan­ning stages as far as China is con­cerned.

In 2014, US fast-food gi­ant Burger King ac­quired Tim Hor­tons and formed Restau­rants Brands In­ter­na­tional, the world’s third-largest op­er­a­tor of quick-ser­vice restau­rants, which is con­trolled by 3G Cap­i­tal of Brazil.

At the time, it was fore­cast that be­cause Burger King was al­ready op­er­at­ing in China, it would be eas­ier for Tim Hor­tons to open out­lets too. While the com­pany has ex­panded to the Philip­pines and the United King­dom since then, it is keep­ing us guess­ing about its plans for China.

I asked both Tim Hor­tons and its par­ent com­pany mul­ti­ple times about their China strat­egy, but they did not re­spond.

So I turned to Wynne’s of­fice, which quickly re­sponded, although that did not re­solve the mys­tery.

“Un­for­tu­nately the Pre-

Last year, China ex­ported 81 mil­lion TVs, com­pared with 48 mil­lion in 2007, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

Also last year, TCL Mul­ti­me­dia Tech­nol­ogy Hold­ings set up a pro­duc­tion base in Egypt in part­ner­ship with lo­cal home ap­pli­ances leader Elaraby Group to tap African and Mid­dle Eastern mar­kets.

The com­pany, which is a di­vi­sion of TCL Corp, opened its first over­seas TV pro­duc­tion base in Viet­nam in 1999. To­day, it gen­er­ates nearly mier’s Of­fice has noth­ing to add to your story as this is a cor­po­rate de­ci­sion by Tim Hor­tons,” an aide said in an email to China Daily.

As the com­pany dithers, other play­ers are rac­ing ahead, with Star­bucks in pole po­si­tion.

Last year, the US be­he­moth an­nounced plans to dou­ble the num­ber of stores in China to 5,000 by 2021, open­ing 500 stores ev­ery year.

That makes sense be­cause China is the fastest-grow­ing cof­fee mar­ket in the world, and spe­cialty stores are half its rev­enues over­seas.

Mean­while, Haier Group, China’s big­gest maker of house­hold ap­pli­ances, es­tab­lished a re­search and devel­op­ment cen­ter and a TV as­sem­bly unit in Rus­sia.

In ad­di­tion to setting up fac­to­ries, brand pro­mo­tion out­side China is an­other strat­egy for go­ing global.

Ap­pli­ances maker Hisense crop­ping up in cities, small and big.

“To­tal sales rev­enue for chained spe­cial­ist cof­fee shops in China was 18.5 bil­lion yuan ($2.7 bil­lion) last year, and is es­ti­mated to reach 32.9 bil­lion in 2021,” mar­ket re­search provider Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional said last week.

Cana­dian food ser­vice in­dus­try con­sul­tant Ge­off Wil­son said sev­eral con­di­tions have to be met be­fore a com­pany en­ters a for­eign mar­ket.

“Typ­i­cally, new mar­ket en­tries need to be ex­e­cuted cor­rectly from the start. Sec­ond chances gen­er­ally don’t oc­cur,” he said.

Yet, he be­lieves that given China’s pop­u­la­tion and its eco­nomic growth, the coun­try is a highly de­sir­able mar­ket.

“China may be in the fu­ture for Tim Hor­tons,” Wil­son added.

May be, but don’t ex­pect any late­comer ad­van­tage in a mar­ket that is get­ting more crowded by the day.

Con­tact the writer at ab­dul@chi­nadaily.com.cn spon­sored the UEFA Euro 2016 soc­cer cham­pi­onship, be­com­ing the first Chi­nese com­pany to do so in the 56-year his­tory of the tour­na­ment. Last year, Hisense also es­tab­lished R&D cen­ters in Ja­pan and Is­rael. So far, the com­pany has set up 12 such cen­ters world­wide.

ZHANG YUMING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Swal­lows fly around a tower in Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince.

DAILY AB­DUL LATHEEF / CHINA

Mo­torists line up at a Tim Hor­tons drive-thru in Toronto, Canada.

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