What’s a company to do when it over-expanded in the U.S. and had to curtail growth? Step up expansion into huge markets like China, of course. That’s one of Starbucks’ big plans at the moment.
Starbucks’ ultimate vision is to plant thousands of its cafes in China. Right now it only has 376 stores there, compared to 878 stores in its largest non-U.S. market, Japan. Clearly, the company is confident about its strategy, given its recent initiation of a dividend.
However, before donning the party hat, note that in a Wall Street Journal article on the topic, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz admitted that China’s also a tricky market to navigate. “The thing I am most interested in when I go to China is whether or not local Chinese are buying Starbucks coffee and sitting in our stores,” said Schultz. Its own retreat from the Forbidden City several years ago is emblematic of the uncertainty of making a great success in China.
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