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China gets a taste of coffee

China’s economic miracle moves inland

The world invasion by US coffee retailer Starbucks, evidenced by the ubiquitous green and white logo, is just getting under way in China, the world’s most populous nation. Dreams of introducing Chinese palates to hazelnut lattes or cinnamon cappuccinos and the dollars to be earned are fuelling a massive expansion.

Already reaching saturation point in the well-heeled cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Starbucks is set to unleash its brand on China’s unsuspecting smaller cities.

To illustrate the point, the current mainland China Starbucks network provides a close correlation with the current economic significance of each region in China: a sort of China Starbucks index.

However you view the table, one thing is indisputable. With just 165 outlets in China, of which 120 are in Beijing or Shanghai, the upside is evident.

“The opportunity we have in China is like no other,” says Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks.

China, you have been warned.

The latte index
Starbucks in China – key provinces
Source: Starbucks/China Statistical Yearbook 2005/China Business Handbook

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