China Beat Archive



Date of this Version


Document Type



February 5, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright February 5, 2009. Used by permission.


Starbucks has been a glowing beacon of capitalism-on-Chinese-soil (some might say…) for years now, and many took glee in the opening of a Starbucks outlet at the Forbidden City as quiet proof of communism’s impending demise (though the outlet is now closed). Here, a top five list of articles that together tell the story of Starbucks’ development in China from international interloper to home-grown coffeehouse. Read on for more.

1. China is major potential market for Starbucks: “Starbucks Soars in China” (Asia Times Online, June 15, 2006):

In Starbucks’ headquarters in Seattle, a group of company executives meet regularly, but not to discuss new items on the menu or what marketing campaign should be adopted. Instead, their topic of conversation is China.

They are part of the “China Club”, established by more than 300 senior company officials at the US coffee company. Learning to speak Mandarin recently became a new part of their routine….

Although China accounted for less than 10% of Starbucks’ US$6.4 billion global sales in 2005, Schultz says the country will soon become the firm’s largest market outside of North America.

“We look at this market in terms of how quickly Starbucks has been accepted in just a few years. The market response has exceeded our expectations,” Schultz said.

Since the first Starbucks outlet on the Chinese mainland opened in Beijing in 1999, Starbucks has become one of the most popular brands among Chinese white-collar workers aged between 25 and 40, surveys have shown.