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Starbucks eyes China market expansion in next five years

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-08 10:13

NEW YORK - Starbucks said on Wednesday that its fast-growing China market could one day eclipse that in the US.

The company unveiled its five-year strategic plan at its biennial investor conference on Wednesday in New York City.

According to the plan, the company eyes to grow revenue by 10 percent, and earnings per share by 15-20 percent as it plans to open approximately 12,000 new stores globally by 2021.

In China alone, the store count will be doubled in the next five years.

Starbucks' China market expansion was emphasized by the company's leadership at the investor conference.

China is Starbucks' fastest growing market and the largest international market. The company now operates approximately 2,500 stores in 118 cities in China, employing more than 30,000 partners (employees) and serving over five million customers every week, said Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China.

To expand its Chinese market, the company reached a strategic partnership with Tencent, a leading provider of internet value-added services in China.

Starting from Thursday, Starbucks will introduce the use of WeChat Pay for purchases in its retail stores across China in an effort to elevate the in-store experience for customers.

In accordance with the company's digital flywheel and mobile system, Starbucks co-created a new social gifting feature on Wechat. Starting from early 2017, the over 800 million global monthly active WeChat users will be able to send Starbucks-branded gifts and products to another person through WeChat. Recipients can redeem their gifts at a local Starbucks store.

The online-to-offline social gifting platform will deepen Starbucks' engagement with its customers and introduce the brand to new customers, said Wong.

"Despite our early success, we are only in the beginning chapters of our growth story," Wong added.

The brand's higher-end Roasteries and Reserve stores will be another driving force for Starbucks' growth. They sell premium coffee and offer customers experience with the craft of roasting and brewing coffee.

The company plans to open its first international Roastery in Shanghai next year.

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