While Starbucks may no longer hold the monopoly it once did over the American coffee market, the global cafe chain is doing remarkably well in China, where it first set up shop in 1999.
China is the company's fastest-growing market with more than 3,000 stores across 136 cities.
Starbucks announced it would expand its investment in China in July 2017 by sealing its biggest deal: the company planned to acquire the remaining 50% of its East China joint venture in a $1.3 billion transaction.
Starbucks has showcased its first overseas roastery and its world's largest store in Shanghai, as it expressed strong confidence in the growing Chinese market. He said while the space is in China, the location overall celebrates the company's 46-year history of being a coffee leader.
That celebration goes well beyond the glitz of the new experiential marketing site.
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The Starbucks Roastery follows Smith & Sinclair's "experiential" chocolate shop in Britain's John Lewis, and the sensor-decked NikeLab in London and NY stores past year. According to the announcement, just point your phone at any of the roastery's key features-whether it's the 40-ton copper cask or handmade wooden ceiling-and you'll get a virtual tour of the wonderland.
One of its three coffee bars is 88-feet long, the longest Starbucks bar in the world - because waiting in line is so 2016. Customers to the tea experience bar can select a Teavana signature pure tea or blend, served either hot or iced.
Starbucks is now building more net new company-operated stores in China than the US, said CEO Kevin Johnson, who replaced CEO Howard Schultz in April when the longtime leader transitioned into the role of executive chairman. The tea bar itself is quite the marvel, as the only tea bar 3D printed from recycled materials, boasting a light jade colour with dark shadows to represent tea stains formed over time in a teapot. Starbucks promises that customers will be greeted by a multi-sensory coffee experience in an interactive coffee and retail destination like no other. Customers at the roastery can enjoy the coffee bean roasting process. Collect them all to receive a custom Roastery filter to share on social media.
Starbucks sees China surpassing the U.S.as its largest market within a decade as it counts on the country's affluent consumers to offset stagnant growth in the rest of the world. Check it out for yourself starting December 6th.