The mark of Western civilization used to be the arrival of McDonald’s on every street corner, but when it comes to international expansion, now the Golden Arches appear to have been replaced by something of the java variety.
In a press conference held in Chengdu, China, Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks, explained his company’s vision over the next few decades for its Asian stores, which China figures heavily into. Though Schultz declined to share specific dates for his goals, he did remark that China could soon become Starbucks’ most profitable region in the world.
“As Starbucks second-largest and fastest-growing market globally, China represents the most important and exciting opportunity ahead of us,” Schultz said. “We are deeply humbled by the enthusiasm with which Chinese people have embraced Starbucks as part of their daily ritual over the past 17 years. Over time, it’s conceivable that China could become our largest market, and I am grateful to our 30,000 dedicated China partners and their supportive families for the significant contributions they are making to Starbucks’ success. The continued investments we are making, coupled with the culture of innovation we have established, are elevating Starbucks’ partner and customer experience beyond that of any other retailer in China.”
AP noted that Schultz and Starbucks are hoping to open an additional 1,400 stores by 2019 to compliment the more than 2,000 already up and running in China. In 2016, Starbucks hopes to cut the ribbon on 500 locations in the country.
“I am a true believer in the future of China because of the humanity and the heart and the conscience of the Chinese people,” Schultz said as part of the Chengdu press conference. “And we will do everything we can to continue to build a great and enduring company that you and your parents can be proud of.”