Starbucks will open 1,400 more locations in China in the next three years, bringing its total to 3,400 by 2019, the company has announced.
In a press release noting “the strategic role of the China market in shaping the future of the company,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz called China, Starbucks’ fastest-growing market, the company’s “most important and exciting opportunity.”
As part of its expansion plans, Starbucks will provide housing subsidies for full-time baristas and shift supervisors in China, not unlike the longstanding policy of Chinese industrial corporations by which factory workers, particularly from rural regions, are provided with dormitory housing. The subsidy program begins later this month, and is expected to cover 50 percent of employees’ monthly housing costs, on average.
“We listened very carefully to what the needs of the partners are, and one of the things they talked about was housing,” John Culver, Starbucks’ head of operations in China, told the Seattle Times. “You have a lot of people migrating into bigger cities, and the cost of living and rent in those cities is higher. We want to make sure we’re giving them the opportunity so that they can afford to live there.”