Starbucks is opening a new store in China every day

Photo: iStock

Starbucks is seriously ramping up its growth in China.

In the last five years, Starbucks has grown from 400 stores to 2,300 stores in China. By 2021, the company plans to have 5,000 locations in the country.

According to CEO Howard Schultz, the coffee giant is opening a new store in the China every day.

“I am quite convinced that, over time, China will be larger than the US and larger than any market we have in the world,” Schultz told Business Insider.

The first Starbucks opened in China 17 years ago. For years, the coffee giant has taken a slow and steady approach to expansion — likely inspired by international struggles in countries such as Australia, where the coffee giant failed to meet the local needs.

In an effort to better identify and meet regional tastes, Starbucks has leaned heavily on local talent while building its business in China.

On Wednesday, Starbucks announced the promotion of Belinda Wong from president to the first-ever CEO of Starbucks China. According to Schultz, Wong and the rest of the Starbucks China team have been key to guiding the chain in creating locally relevant stores and products that are designed for the Chinese palate.

“We want to apply the same discipline and thoughtfulness and, most importantly, respect for the Chinese customer… and realise that our success in US does not give us the licence to succeed anywhere else in the world,” says Schultz. “We have to earn it.”

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