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A New Challenger Enters the High-Stakes Battle for China’s Coffee Drinkers


Tim Hortons has arrived in China, joining the high-stakes battle to sell coffee in a massive country that mostly drinks tea.

The Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain, run by Burger King-owner Restaurant Brands International Inc., plans to focus on “everyday value” as it muscles up against the ambitious plans of local and foreign players such as Starbucks Corp. Its also debuting at a tricky time as a diplomatic row brews between China and Canada.

While more consumers may be giving java a shot, the coffee market remains relatively small. Only about a third of Chinese consumers bought hot coffee in 2017, according to a report from Kantar Worldpanel. Tim Hortons has its work cut out for it, said Jennifer Bartashus, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

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