A new Starbucks coffee chain location opens every 15 hours in China, according to Tuesday reports from CNBC. With more than 3,000 stores already in operation in the country, another 2,000 are in plans and slated for opening by 2021.
“To us, we open 500-plus stores a year, but to us, it’s not about 500,” said Belinda Wong, CEO of Starbucks China. “It’s about opening a store 500 different times because you’re in a different neighborhood and we’ve got to build that relationship with our customer.”
The newest location, a Reserve Roastery comprising 30,000-square-feet and located in Shanghai, is the second of its kind to open its doors in China and is twice as large as the coffee chain’s flagship in Seattle, Washington.
China is Starbucks’ second largest — and fastest growing — market. Starbucks China serves more than 5 million customers per week, most of which visit between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM, though the country is beginning to adopt the U.S. custom of morning coffee beverages, as well.
According to its U.S. CEO, Kevin Johnson, the company builds more new company-operated locations in China than in its home country. In addition, comparable sales growth outpaced the U.S., posting an 8 percent increase last quarter compared to a 3 percent gain in the U.S., minus the impacts from the end-of-summer hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast.
China isn’t the only growth the coffee roaster and retailer is seeing these days. Starbucks recently opened its first store in Jamaica, making it the international coffee retailer’s 76th global market. The brick-and-mortar location also represents Starbucks’ 17th market in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The Montego Bay retail location is operated by Caribbean Coffee Baristas Ltd.
Starbucks shares are up 5.8 percent this year, up 1.1 percent as of start of trading Tuesday.