SHANGHAI, U.S. - As part of its aggressive expansion strategy, Starbucks has opened the world’s largest, most lavish Starbucks opens in Shanghai.
The Seattle-based coffee retailer opened a store which is nearly 30,000-square foot compound that does much more than simply serve coffee and is the world’s largest.
On Tuesday, the newly opened Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai is also the first non-U.S. location of a new series of shops designed to offer a more "immersive" experience for coffee lovers.
According to Starbucks, which opened its first such roastery in Seattle in 2014, the new one in Shanghai is about half its size.
Starbucks said that the Shanghai location is the world's largest and includes three coffee bars, one of which clocks in at 88 feet long - the chain's longest to date.
According to reports, the coffee bars will serve cups made from beans grown in China's Pu'er in Yunnan Province.
The roastery is a two-story, 40-ton copper cask towers over the store, refilling the coffee bars' various silos.
The company said that the cafe will also include a tea bar made from 3D printed materials, and an in-house bakery employing more than 30 Chinese bakers and chefs.
This would be the first Starbucks location to integrate augmented reality - technology that combines real-world surroundings with tech.
Customers can point their phones at various spots around the cavernous room to learn about the coffee brewing process.
Considering Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the company struggled when it opened its first store in China in 1999, he has now said, "We had to educate and teach many Chinese about what coffee was - the coffee ritual, what a latte was. So in the early years, we did not make money."
The company is now expanding faster than frothed milk and has been on pace to open an average of one new store every day for five years, since 2016.
The company plans to have almost 5,000 stores across the country by 2021.
Schultz said in an interview, "When people ask me how much can you really grow in China, I don't really know what the answer is, but I do believe it's going to be larger than the U.S."
Despite the increased prices, over the past year, sales in China grew by seven percent compared to a three percent in the rest of the word.