China will remain focal point of Starbucks' international efforts, be company's second-largest market by 2014, officials say; Starbucks expects to exceed 1,500 stores in China by 2015

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich

Apr 2, 2012 – Starbucks

BOAO, China , April 1, 2012 (press release) – Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today reiterated that China will remain the focal point of its international expansion efforts. Speaking at the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia Conference 2012, John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific confirmed that Starbucks believes its operations in China will be its second largest, outside of the United States, by 2014. In addition, Starbucks is confident that it will exceed 1,500 stores, across China, by 2015.

“We continue to see strong growth in China giving us even greater confidence in achieving our goal of building China as our largest market, outside of the U.S., by 2014,” said John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. “While we have an ambitious plan to accelerate our pace of growth, we will make sure we are growing the brand in a holistic way; delivering the highest quality espresso, locally-relevant product and store design innovations, as well as elevating the special connection we have with our customers and the local communities where we do business.”

Starbucks successfully entered 13 new Chinese cities during its fiscal year 2011, opening an average of 1 store every four days. The stores opened in these new markets have been widely accepted by the local consumers and store performance has exceeded the company’s expectations.

“Our partners (employees) are at the heart of delivering the Starbucks Experience to our customers each and every day,” continued Culver. “It is their passion for coffee excellence, exceeding customer expectations and developing their teams, which has led to our success in China.”

Since its entry into the Chinese market, with the opening of its first store at the Beijing World Trade Centre in 1999, Starbucks has built the company and its brand on a passion for delivering high-quality arabica coffee. With a 40-year history of sourcing, roasting and blending, only 3% of the world’s beans make it into a bag of Starbucks® coffee. Starbucks is committed to the quality of its coffee every step of the way – starting from the soil and ending with each cup of finely handcrafted coffee beverage.

“For the past 13 years, Starbucks has been successful in maintaining our coffee leadership in China because of our unwavering commitment to ensure each of our customers will only be served the finest cup of coffee every time they visit our stores, or use our coffee products at home or on-the-go,” added Culver.

For many Chinese, Starbucks has not only been a symbol of China’s rapid urban development, but for its customers, the authentic Starbucks coffee culture, genuine moments of connection between its partners and customers, and unique Starbucks Experience, have come to embody a new modern lifestyle pursuit and aspiration.

Starbucks today operates more than 570 stores across 48 Chinese cities.

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