Starbucks

China’s soaring property prices have been a problem for a long time. But this week, it was not the country’s nascent middle class complaining about rising rents. It was Starbucks.

On Friday afternoon, the US coffee chain closed the coffee shop that had been its first in China. And if its staff is to be trusted, the reason was skyrocketing rent prices. Read more

“Not for all the tea in China,” is a handy way to express extreme unwillingness to do something in the English language – because China is synonymous with tea.

But the way China is latching onto coffee culture these days, China’s relationship with tea may never be the same again. Read more

a new Starbucks coffee shop built in traditional Chinese style in Chengdu, Sichuan ProvinceCoffee giant Starbucks is keen on China. At its investor conference this week, the company said China would be its second biggest market by 2014, behind the US and overtaking Canada, and it aimed to have 1,500 stores in 70 Chinese cities by 2015, from 700 today.

And you can see why. As China Daily reported last month, Starbucks keeps on putting up the price of coffee in the country. It’s now more expensive to buy a Starbucks latte in China than it is in the US. Read more

In few countries would the opening of a coffee shop be treated as headline news, but that’s exactly the treatment Starbucks’ 4,500 square foot flagship Indian store in Mumbai received on Friday.

Throngs of journalists converged on the restored heritage building owned by the company’s local 50:50 partner, the Tata Group, to mark the entrance of the Seattle-based coffeehouse into the traditionally tea-drinking subcontinent. Read more

An American company trying to sell coffee to Latin America sounds like somebody selling ice to Eskimos or taking coal to Newcastle. Not least because the region produces most of the beans consumed worldwide.

Yet that is exactly what Starbucks is looking to do. This week, the Seattle-based coffee chain announced plans to ramp up its expansion in LatAm. The group said it wants to open ”several hundred” stores in Brazil in the next five years, to add to the 38 it currently owns, and open more than 300 new stores in Argentina and Mexico by 2015.

But will the region’s caffeine seekers bite? Read more