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Food delivery bikes in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket/Getty

Have you ever ordered your morning cup of coffee delivered to your office? I asked 28 colleagues — all based in the U.S. Just two said "yes," and two others that said they might. Twenty-four basically told me to get lost.

  • Not so in China, where a delivered cup of steaming-hot coffee, brought by motorbike, is the new new thing.

The big picture: Tea is still king in Chinese offices. For those who have switched, coffee is an inconvenient luxury — few offices have brewing machines, and it can take ages to walk to a cafe on the packed streets.

  • But the other thing about China is a mania for on-demand delivery — Chinese want what they want, and they want it now.
  • Hence the opening for delivered coffee, including a reported new venture between Starbucks and Alibaba.

The latest: The partnership between Starbucks and Ele.me, Alibaba's food delivery arm, is to be announced Thursday, report the WSJ's Xiao Xiao and Liza Lin. "Alibaba and Starbucks are always exploring new ways to deepen our long-term partnership in China," an Alibaba spokesman said. Starbucks didn't respond to an email.

The backdrop:

  • Starbucks has had incredible success in China, capturing 80% of the coffee market in 2017, per Euromonitor International.
  • But there's a new competitor. Luckin Coffee, a Beijing startup that launched in October, has already opened 660 Chinese stores.
  • Luckin's strategy? Super-fast coffee delivery via scooters — and if your coffee is more than 30 minutes late, it's free.

The bottom line: "Chinese culture is less relaxed that American culture," says Hans Tung, managing partner at GGV Capital, a VC firm that works in China. So even the mid-morning coffee run is an indulgence. "People say, 'Why should I go out there? I just want my coffee now.'"

Go deeper

California governor declares drought emergency for entire state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speakinng to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate panel will recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with "crimes against humanity," alleging his COVID-19 pandemic response led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, per the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The latest: The lawmakers initially said Bolsonaro should be charged with mass homicide and genocide, but lawmakers updated the report to replace these recommendations with the new charge, its lead author, Sen. Renan Calheiros, told the NYT.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

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