The French appliance maker views China as a key growth market, with the new R&D and manufacturing facility set to further strengthen the group’s professional coffee machine brands in Asia
A Schaerer Premium Coffee Corner coffee-to-go concept | Photo credit: Schaerer
Groupe SEB is seeking to strengthen its position in China’s fully-automatic professional coffee machine segment with a planned €60m ($65m) state-of-the-art Professional Equipment Hub in Shaoxing.
The hub is set to be operational by 2025 and will feature an R&D centre, purchasing offices and manufacturing facilities. Additionally, a new entity – SEB Professional Shaoxing Co Ltd. – will be created to manage the hub and develop new products for various professional and semi-professional segments. Its updated strategy in China focuses on ‘cutting-edge innovation and collaboration with influential trendsetters’ to meet the unique needs of the local market.
In a press release the French appliance manufacturer said the project highlights its commitment to long-term growth in Asia and will build upon its strong performance in China.
“We aim to become a reference player in the professional equipment market, relying on the development model deployed over the last 20 years in the consumer sector, which has allowed us to strengthen our leadership in professional coffee. These ambitions are also founded on a powerful, global, and balanced industrial footprint,” said Stanislas de Gramont, CEO, Groupe SEB.
China has a vast and fastest-growing fully automatic professional coffee machine sales market, according to Groupe SEB. The country generated 27% of Groupe SEB’s €7.96bn ($8.6bn) 2022 sales and 28% of its €5.56bn ($6bn) sales in the first nine months of 2023.
In May 2023, Groupe SEB highlighted China as a ‘top performer’ in its first quarter sales, driven by its contract to supply Luckin Coffee with its Schaerer fully automatic coffee machines.
Swiss brand Schaerer, part of Groupe SEB’s coffee portfolio since 2016, first partnered with Luckin Coffee in 2019, when the value-focused coffee chain ordered 2,000 Schaerer Coffee Soul fully automatic machines for its stores. Luckin Coffee also utilises the Schaerer Premium Coffee Engine for its network of self-serve coffee machines.
Alongside Schaerer, Groupe SEB also manufactures the WMF, Wilbur Curtis and La San Marco coffee machine brands.
Groupe SEB operates 41 manufacturing sites globally, with the Shaoxing Professional Equipment Hub the company’s first major new facility since 2016 when its opened a small electrical appliance production plant in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil.
The bulk of its professional coffee machine production takes place at its Geislingen site in Germany – the headquarters of WMF.