World's biggest Starbucks has opened … in China, of course

World's biggest Starbucks has opened … in China, of course

It is the second such high-end concept store opened by the coffee chain after the first opened in Seattle three years ago.

Starbucks dominates in China and is growing fast in the market, while in the United States it comes under pressure from a "third wave" of boutique coffee sellers and cheaper rivals.

China is becoming crucial for Starbucks.

The "Starbucks Reserve Roastery" is on Nanjing Road West, the city's most-famous shopping street, and has been hotly promoted for months on social media.

Starbucks opened a new super-sized Roastery in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said the store would blend the company's 46-year history in the coffee shop business with "China's rich, diverse culture". Starbucks, which says it is opening a store every 15 hours in China, plans to have 5,000 cafes on the mainland by 2021. Sales there were up 8% compared with the same quarter past year. "We can build new stores in China for decades and still have [an] opportunity for growth there".

"This is a show store", Gordon said.

"There are a lot of new players and the cake is getting bigger", said Lawrence Ge, founder of Single Patch Coffee, who runs coffee workshops and cafes in Shanghai and Suzhou. "The point is to be in a highly, highly visible, touristy [area] where there's foot traffic, offices and urban housing in order to promote the brand". There is also a special emphasis on tea, with a dedicated bar offering items like nitrogen cold brew tea. Customers can book coffee tasting experiences on Alibaba's e-commerce site and also buy special Starbucks Reserve coffee and related products tied to the store's launch.

We're not sure if this will be limited to just the outlet in Shanghai or if Starbucks has plans to roll it out to their other outlets in the future, but presumably it will most likely depend on the feedback that they get from customers.

Starbucks is looking to leverage its huge growth in China, which is now the brand's fastest growing market, where a new store opens every 15 hours.

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