By Erik Crouch
A classical Chinese garden style Starbucks branch in Fuzhou, full gallery here.
Starbucks plans to double its number of stores in China over the next three years and transform them to better suit Chinese tastes, according to the Wall Street Journal. The chain already features sino-centric tastes like the Red Bean Frappuccino, and has promised to expand regional options instead of a “one-size-fits all” menu.
Starbucks is credited for essentially creating the Chinese demand for coffee and giving Chinese consumers (especially the younger generation) an entrance into the chic world of Western coffee houses. While it certainly faces competition from McDonalds, Costa Coffee, and Pacific Coffee, Starbucks is still a top choice for trend-seeking young and status-seeking businessmen alike. The company’s expansion into more regional tastes will enable it to be both a “cool” symbol and a comfort food, and it may only be a matter of time before we see prawn panini sandwiches and jian bing with espresso.