World's largest Starbucks opens in Shanghai



This week on CNBC's "Squawk Box", Belinda Wong, the CEO of Starbucks in China, said that one new Starbucks location is opening in China every 15 hours, making China the coffeehouse chain's second largest and fastest growing market-and a market that should eclipse the US market.

The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai is the firm's largest, spanning 30,000 feet, and includes a 3D-printed tea bar.

With 28 million residents of Shanghai and 600 million middle class Chinese consumers clamoring for Western experiences, Starbucks is ready for a spectacular growth trajectory in China, where it already operates more than 3,000 stores (600 in Shanghai alone) across 136 cities and employs nearly 50,000 employees.

It's the first of its kind, complete with interactive technology like augmented reality - being able to scan a roaster to find out more about brewing methods.

There are three coffee experience bars - one of which is 88 feet long, the longest Starbucks coffee bar in the world - with more than 100 beverages available to buy, including Teavana tea infused with nitrogen. Each step of the way, customers unlock a virtual badge and once all badges are earned, they receive a custom Roastery filter to commemorate the moment and share on social media.

When customers walk in they are even given an "exploration guide", which doubles as a map.

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Alibaba worked in partnership with Starbucks to create an immersive AR experience to bring the Starbucks story to life.

The new Starbucks-branded attraction is the first to open outside of the USA and roughly twice the size of the original Reserve Roastery in Seattle. Through Alibaba's Taobao mobile app, visitors can view augmented reality-powered digital menus and details of each coffee bar, brewing methods and merchandise.

"It's obvious to us that the holding power of China for Starbucks is going to be much more significant than the holding power of the U.S.", Howard Schultz, the founder and Chairman of the company, said on Tuesday.

The first sign of this type was opened in 2014 in the u.s. city of Seattle, where the group has its headquarters. "We're a people company".

Belinda Wong, the CEO of Starbucks China, explains that Starbucks Reserve Roastery isn't just a store but "carries the dreams of 40,000 partners", in other words their China-based employees. Created from recycled materials using a 3-D printer and length, the tea bar is a light jade color with dark shadows to represent tea stains formed in a teapot over time.

The location opens up on December 6.

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