Starbucks eyes higher growth in China

Updated: 2011-03-09 05:25
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 Starbucks eyes higher growth in China

Starbucks Coffee International President John Culver poses with a cup of Starbucks coffee with its new logo at the Solana store in Beijing March 8, 2011. [Photo/Agencies] 


BEIJING - Starbucks plans to introduce VIA Ready Brew, its instant coffee, to China in April, according to its senior executives.

John Culver, president of Starbucks Coffee International, made the announcement in Beijing on Tuesday during a press conference held to mark the 40th anniversary of the coffee giant's founding.

The instant coffee would be available at all Starbucks stores across the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong starting on April 6, Culver said.

Starbucks' confidence in the Chinese market "remains as strong as ever" and it plans to further build China as its "second home market", said Wang Jinlong, a senior vice president of Starbucks and chairman of its China branch.

Wang disclosed a plan to triple the number of its stores on the Chinese mainland to exceed 1,500 by 2015. Starbucks currently has about 450 stores in 35 cities. The first Starbucks store in the Chinese mainland was opened in 1999.

Tuesday's events also witnessed the formal adoption of its newly designed logo which only bears its iconic Siren.

With letters on the old logo removed, the company would be able to explore products beyond coffee and get access to new distribution channels beyond its stores, said Culver.

However, no specific schedule for the establishment of new distribution channels in China was disclosed on Tuesday.

Asides from the birthday celebration in Beijing, Starbucks headquarters in Seattle and three other stores in Paris, London and New York City also participated in the global ceremony.

The company chose a Beijing store for the ceremony because it knows its development in the next 40 years relies on China's market, Wang added.