| China

illycaffè signs new partnership to boost e-commerce sales in China

The Italian coffee roaster and café chain says its e-commerce and marketing partnership with Hangzhou Onechance Tech will bolster at-home coffee sales as it seeks to triple its China revenues by 2026 

Cristina Scocchia, CEO, illycaffè  | Photo credit: illycaffè


illycaffè is seeking to strengthen its packaged retail coffee sales in the Chinese consumer market after entering into a new partnership with e-commerce solutions provider Hangzhou Onechance Tech. 

Discussing the Hangzhou Onechance Tech partnership with Italian newspaper la Repubblica, illycaffè CEO Cristina Scocchia said the coffee giant is seeking to triple its turnover in China by 2026 and will adapt its product range to suit local consumers. 

As part of its expansion strategy, the Italian coffee roaster and café chain is preparing to launch a new instant coffee product for the Chinese market. Scocchia said the product will be familiar to consumers ‘used to drinking tea and infusions’. illycaffè took a similar approach in the US where it has set its sights on a growing ready-to-drink coffee market, she added. 

“Thanks to this partnership we will strengthen our presence in home and online channels. The goal is to triple our turnover in China over the course of the plan. In China we bring a capsule of instant coffee, to be opened on the spot, which is closest to a consumer who is used to drinking tea and infusions. The DNA of the brand remains that of a high-end Italian product, but to be a global brand we must approach the local tastes of all consumers,” said Scocchia. 

Founded in 2012, Hangzhou Onechance Tech is an e-commerce platform focused on improving online services and distribution for retail brands. The Hangzhou-based business provides ‘vertical marketing e-commerce operating services’, which includes product design, integrated marketing planning, CRM management, advertising and warehousing and logistics services.   

Alongside leading healthcare brands P&G, Johnson & Johnson and Pechoin Group, Hangzhou Onechance Tech also lists Taiwanese food and beverage conglomerate Uni-President among its clients. Tainan-based Uni-President operates Starbucks, 7-Eleven, Mister Donut and Carrefour in Taiwan. 

In February 2023 illycaffé announced plans to make China its second largest market amid a wider push to ‘build bigger markets abroad’. The announcement included goals to launch e-commerce and retail operations across the country by the end of 2024. 

The Italian coffee roaster and café chain reported its strongest annual sales growth in ten years in 2022, with group revenues rising 14% year-on-year to reach €568m ($619m). Sales in China grew 15% during the 12 months ended 31 December 2022, led by online channels.  

Founded in Trieste in 1933, illycaffè is one of the world’s most prominent coffee roasters, with strong distribution across supermarkets and horeca channels in 140 countries. The business also operates more than 175 cafés globally, split between company-operated and franchised stores. 

Scocchia said illycaffé plans to nearly double its café network across the next three years, opening 150 franchised locations in markets where the brand is ‘less recognisable’. 

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