Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Recently Signed Agreement With Yunnan Province Government To Develop Coffee-Growing Industry
Starbucks, which currently operates around 500 locations throughout mainland China (a number the company hopes to triple by 2015), has been on a major offensive in recent years to bag millions more coffee converts in the homeland of green tea, with efforts focused mainly on the country’s roughly 200 million middle-class consumers. Like other foreign companies looking to temper their red-hot expansion and appeal to a broader audience by incorporating more “Chinese-ness” into their products, last year Starbucks made moves to source more coffee beans from China after creating its first China-grown blend in 2009 and following intensive research into the growing conditions of the country’s southwestern Yunnan province, an area traditionally known for its pu’erh tea.
No word on how many of its beans will be “home-grown,” but this week Starbucks opened its largest mainland China location in Xiamen, Fujian province. According to China Retail News, the 400-square-meter, four-story flagship features design aspects and special products that play to the strong influence of China’s tea culture in Fujian, along with decor inspired by old Xiamen. Recently, Wang Jinlong, chairman of Starbucks Greater China, told Xiamen’s media that Starbucks is now looking to localize at the city level in China, with efforts to merge into local cultures.
Wang also added that Starbucks is looking to make inroads in smaller cities throughout inland China in the next five years. In Fujian province, where Starbucks currently operates two locations in the capital Fuzhou and Xiamen, the company hopes to open three new Xiamen stores around this year’s Spring Festival, which kicks off early next month.