By Gordon Chu | Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I was raised on what some people may say as “sub par” coffee. Folgers. Tasters’ Choice. Instant coffee was pretty much what my parents ingested on a daily basis. Throw in a splash of 2% lowfat milk (no sugar) and you have yourself one cup of hot java mess.
In college, I fought and battled hard against drinking coffee for the first two years – but after several all-nighters, I collapsed and enjoyed my first brewed cup of “proper” coffee at Starbucks. From then on… I was hooked. The aroma. The hissing sound of boiling hot espresso. Shouts of random names, coffee drinks, special orders (“No Foam!”, “Non-fat!”, “Extra hot!”). Yes – it’s like music to my ears.
Today, I drink coffee like it’s been a part of me all my life. Taking a shower, checking email, Starbucks coffee – yes, all of that is up there on my daily things to do. Granted, the excitement of going to Starbucks is not all there like it was at the beginning, in fact, of all the different choices you have to choose from, I still prefer my good ol’ cup of cup of regular coffee. Sumatra. Black.
You can imagine my relief and my safe haven going to China and seeing my beloved green logo (albeit in Chinese). It was like going home. Starbucks in China is not a novel idea. They’ve been around since 1999 (mainland China) and succeeding quite well going into their 10th anniversary there. Here is a timeline of notable Starbucks moment in China:
1998: Starbucks opens its first store in China in Taipei, Taiwan
1999: Starbucks opens its first store in mainland China in Beijing
2000: Shanghai store opens
2002: Green Tea Frappucino is announced by President of Starbucks Taiwan to the world
2005: Starbucks donates $5M and establishes Starbucks China Education Program
2006: Reach to 19 mainland cities
2008: Reach to 26 mainland cities
2009: Celebrates 10 year anniversary in China with over 350 total stores
2010: Introduction of China coffee with beans grown in China’s countryside
All in all, it’s a great case study about a company successfully entering the China market. Not bad for a brand and a product in a country where tea is the primary cultural beverage consumed and coffee is just an afterthought.