Largest Ever Starbucks Opening in Shanghai

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The Seattle-based coffee company opened a 30,000-square-foot store in Shanghai on Tuesday. The Shanghai location is Starbucks' second, and twice as large as the Roastery in Seattle.

The Seattle-based company is homing in on its fastest-growing market as it searches for ways to kick-start sluggish global sales after saturating the US with lattes and cappuccinos. There's also an on-site bakery with enough carbs from famed Italian baker Rocco Princi to keep you fueled as you explore Starbucks' first-ever augmented reality experience. Roastery customers are invited to immerse themselves in the first Starbucks augmented reality (AR) experience - accessible through the custom-designed Roastery digital web-app platform or on Alibaba's Taobao app. "It is also another example of Starbucks tying together a physical store experience with new technology" said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson when announcing this at the GeekWire Summit in September.

Chinese are usually less hooked on coffee than their American counterparts, but for the growing middle class, Starbucks is still viewed as an attractive aspirational brand. The location has gourmet drinks - like nitrogen-infused teas - and an 88-foot-long, hand-crafted coffee bar.

In a sign of the times, Starbucks partnered with Chinese tech giant Alibaba to aggressively promote the Shanghai store opening online.

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But the Shanghai roastery won't hold the title of largest Starbucks for too long.

In 2012, Starbucks China has operated the China Starbucks Farmer Support Center in Pu'er in the Yunnan Province, supplying agronomists to work in concert with government representatives and local farmers to improve quality and production through the region. Sales in same-stores were up by 8% in China in the most recent quarter, in comparison to an increase globally of just 2%. Starbucks already operates more than 3,000 stores in the country and plans to increase that number to 5,000 by 2021.

China is Starbucks's fastest-growing market with more than 3,000 stores across 136 cities, including 600 in Shanghai alone.

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