Starbucks China Expected To Eclipse U.S. Market

December 8
5:16 AM 2016

Famous coffee company Starbucks stated that it expects the fast-growing business in China to overtake its U.S. market one day.

The company shared its plans to open 12,000 additional stores globally in the next five years, half of which will be located in the U.S. and in China.

Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said that the China market remains particularly attractive for the retailer.

Starbucks entered the mainland China market when it opened its first store in Beijing in 1999. Currently, there are more than 2,100 stores in more than 100 cities.

"Not only will China one day be bigger than the U.S., but our business in China will demonstrate that we will be one of the...most significant winners in terms of a Western consumer brand," he said.

The China business is the company's fastest-growing market, with its revenues and operating income seen to triple over the next five years. With new Starbucks store opening in China about every 15 hours, the country is expected to have 2,500 stores in 118 cities soon.

"Despite our early success, we are only in the beginning chapters of our growth story," Starbucks China CEO Belinda Wong told analysts Wednesday.

"In the next five years, we're well positioned to double our scale to 5,000 stores in over 200 cities," she said.

Wong also noted that the rapid expansion of the brand in China will be driven by urbanization and the emerging middle class in the country. She added that the nation's booming economy have lifted more than 230 million people into the middle class in the past decade. And over the coming six years, roughly 300 million people are also expected to attain middle-class status.

The company also provided for an easier purchase in China, with just a scan on the customer's phone. Starbucks announced Thursday that it will accept WeChat payments system at its cafes in China.

The company also sees its future growth to be fueled by food innovation and its cold coffee beverages.

Aside from coffee, the management also sees the potential of the company's tea brand, Teavana, in the China market. 

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