The world’s biggest Starbucks officially opened today in Shanghai and who should be in attendance but singer, dancer, and tai chi master Jack Ma.
Speaking inside of the 30,000 square foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai, right in front of a magnificent two-story roasting cask engraved with more than 1,000 traditional Chinese stamps, Ma sang the praises of the Seattle-based coffee chain, saying that when people ask him why so many American companies are not so successful in China, he points them to Starbucks, which is opening a new location here every 15 hours.
Ma explained that Starbucks owes its success in the country to its focus on understanding Chinese people and the Chinese market, along with making its coffee with abstract ingredients like “heart,” “love,” and “passion.”
“You guys have transformed China, a country drinking tea, and you make so many people love coffee,” Ma said. “I don’t like coffee, but I like Starbucks.”
Along with its increased focus on tea in China, Ma’s opinion of Starbucks is likely also influenced somewhat by the various partnerships that Alibaba and Starbucks have entered into. For the Shanghai Roastery, Alibaba is providing the technology to create the “first fully immersive coffee experience in Asia” via augmented reality.
And, really, who hasn’t ever wanted to be immersed in coffee?