Starbucks aims to become more Chinese as it announces 800 new coffee shops

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 11:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2012, 4:13pm

Coffee giant Starbucks is advancing its growth plans in China with the opening of its 100th store in Beijing and 800 more in the next three years.

“Beijing is where we started our journey in China, opening our first store in 1999, and we are proud to now operate 100 stores across the city and more than 700 throughout mainland China.”

Starbucks has announced that China will be its second-largest market by 2014 and will have 1,500 stores by 2015 across more than 70 cities. It also plans to introduce new Chinese-inspired flavours in the wake of the popularity of  favourites like red bean frappuccinos.

The 100th store in Beijing is in the Solana International Business District, and is staffed by all Starbucks Coffee Masters, baristas who have completed a rigorous certification process and have earned the right to wear the distinguished "black apron" after intensive coffee skills and knowledge training.

“Our passion and pursuit for high-quality arabica coffee is how we have built our company and the Starbucks brand the past 41 years,” added Wong.

“Our partners are at the heart of everything we do in our stores in China, and the certified Coffee Masters leading this store will introduce customers to even more unique elements of the espresso experience, demonstrating and defining our coffee leadership position in China.”

But the question on the lips of many customers will be: how much will Starbucks charge us for its coffee?

In the current Beijing store customers are paying 22 yuan (HK$27.50) for a cup of regular coffee that only sells for 11 yuan in San Francisco.

In a heated online discussion recently on China’s Twitter-like service Weibo, coffee lovers asked why the same cup of coffee costs so much less in the United States.