Starbucks is making a huge push into the Chinese market
A Starbucks at the Forbidden City is just one of the more than 5,000 coffee shops the chain intends to have open in China by 2021.
Some days it may seem like there’s a Starbucks on every corner, but the coffee giant is growing bigger every day, and now chief executive Howard Schultz plans to open a new Starbucks a day in China for the next five years.
According to CNN, Starbucks plans to grow its stores in China to more than 5,000 by 2021. Growing at that rate would work out to opening at least one new store at a day. Shanghaiist reports that this week Starbucks announced that it had promoted Belinda Wong to chief executive of Starbucks China to oversee the task. Starbucks says that as president of Starbucks China, Wong was instrumental in growing the brand from 400 stores to more than 2,300 from 2011 to 2016.
Starbucks has had cafes in China for about 17 years now, and the company says that at first the move was greeted with skepticism. Tea was so dominant in China that the idea of a coffee chain having much room to expand seemed far-fetched, but Schultz said that in recent years coffee has been catching on in a big way.
"If you look five years ago, most of our business, believe it or not, was expats and tourists in China," he said to CNN. "Today, it's mostly Chinese."