Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has big plans for China, the company’s largest international market. Schultz tells CNBC that the company’s business has the potential to exceed that of the United States. He says, “I wouldn't be surprised if one day we have more stores in China than we do in the U.S.”
The chain currently has more than 2,100 stores across more than 100 cities in China. 300 of these locations are in Shanghai alone. The company has announced that it will open its first international Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Shanghai in 2017. Starbucks plans to open 500 locations each year over the next five years in China.
Schultz seems unconcerned about the state of the Chinese economy and the expected changes that will occur over the long term. “There's going to be cyclical changes as the Chinese government goes through this significant economic transformation. But I think what we've established early on is a great enduring relationship with the local customer and… the municipalities,” said Schultz.