Starbucks Looks to Double Number of Locations in China by 2021

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Belinda Wong, CEO, Starbucks China
Belinda Wong, CEO, Starbucks China Credit: Courtesy Starbucks
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Starbucks will more than double its number of locations in China by 2021, increasing the company's bet on a country that Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz says eventually could be a bigger market than the U.S.

The chain will have 5,000 stores in mainland China within five years, up from about 2,300 now, the Seattle-based company said in a statement. Starbucks, which currently gets about 13% of its revenue from the Asia-Pacific region, also is promoting Belinda Wong to CEO of Starbucks China.

Schultz's ambition of making Starbucks bigger in China than the U.S. would still be a ways off: The chain has about 12,900 domestic locations. But third-quarter same-store sales climbed 7% in the country, compared with U.S. growth of 4%. Starbucks also recently began selling a new line of tea drinks across the Asia-Pacific region, and it will open a larger-size roastery store in China next year to further tout its brand.

Ms. Wong, who joined Starbucks in 2000, will oversee the plans to double the company's Chinese cafes. She also will be in charge of digital and e-commerce there, and will continue to report to John Culver, group president of Starbucks global retail.

~~ Bloomberg News