Starbucks has launched a new brand of coffee grown in Yunnan Province in southwest China called South of the Clouds, the meaning of Yunnan (云南) in Chinese. Martin Coles, president of Starbucks Coffee International, told AP that his goal is to bring Chinese coffee not just to China but to the world: “Ultimately I’d love to see our coffees from China feature on the shelves of every one of our stores in 49 countries around the world.”
Wang Jinlong, president of Starbucks for greater China, chimed in saying the company “wants to make its coffee from China as well-known and as high-quality as Chinese tea”. While Starbucks has been shutting stores across the US, Coles says Starbucks has “so much space for growth in China, we’re barely scratching the surface even today of what we think the demand potential is for this market”.
A new coffee war is definitely brewing within China and Shanghai is going to become the main battleground. As previously noted by Spencer Sheehan of Pacific Epoch, lots of new cafe chains have been invading Shanghai recently, the most notable of which is Taiwanese chain 85º (they say 85ºF is the optimum temperature to brew coffee), which has been offering Americanos for RMB8, less than a third of Starbucks’ RMB27. Incidentally, the three 85º coffee shops in Shanghai “are doing roaring trade in spaces that were once occupied by branches of the Seattle-based chain”.