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Rocket Internet-backed Flash Coffee plans Asia-wide rollout

The tech-enabled coffee chain, Flash Coffee, is accelerating its Asian expansion plan, making its Hong Kong debut this month and committing to opening its first stores in Japan and South Korea later this year.

Launched last year, Flash Coffee already operates more than 100 locations across Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The chain aims to increase its network to more than 300 stores, expanding its footprint into Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines next year.

The Hong Kong launch follows Flash Coffee’s Series A funding round led by tech investment firm White Star Capital last April where it successfully secured US$20 million from a range of investors, including Rocket Internet, whose subsidiaries include Global Fashion Group and HelloFresh.

Located at Golden Centre in Sheung Wan, the chain’s first Hong Kong store is – like its others – designed to “fit the needs of the ‘new normal’ and cater to a bustling lifestyle”. Customers can order through a mobile app and pay before picking the order at the store or have it delivered. Meanwhile, Flash Coffee connects its customers and baristas through individualised consumer and barista mobile apps, matching the order with a nearby pick-up outlet.

The chain also offers a digital coffee loyalty program on the app, offering gamified challenges and personalised rewards.

“Hong Kong is already recognised as a city that is willing to embrace technology,” said Jonathan Tsao, MD at Flash Coffee. “Over the past few decades the city has also built up a reputation for its love of premium coffee – but so far, this has only been available at premium prices.

“Flash Coffee intends to shake things up, by offering a new coffee culture built around technology, affordability and digitally-driven customer-focused solutions.”

The launch of Hong Kong’s first Flash Coffee store will be followed by a series of new store openings in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Wan Chai by the end of next month. The coffee chain aims to reach 50 stores in the territory by mid-next year.

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