The world's largest Starbucks is opening in Shanghai and at almost 30,000 square feet, it looks like a castle. Starbucks, which says it is opening a store every 15 hours in China, plans to have 5,000 cafes on the mainland by 2021. Major attractions of the new 2,700 square-meter espresso wonderland include a two-story copper cask, three different coffee bars, an integrated augmented reality (AR) experience, and a 3D printed tea bar.
Starbucks' new Shanghai store is 30,000 square feet.
China is the company's fastest-growing market with more than 3,000 stores across 136 cities.
"The affinity we have built with our partners [employees] and customers over the past 18 years in China is special, and we knew we must bring the Reserve Roastery, our boldest, most-premium store ever, to Shanghai", said Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks Coffee Company, in a statement.
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And Starbucks is playing to that image with this new shop in Shanghai. Partnering with Alibaba's e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall, Starbucks' Shanghai Roastery uses a digital menu with visualizations of the coffee-brewing process, and company stories in a mobile app that offers customers a video-game-like experience as they walk around the store with smartphones.
One of its three coffee bars is 88-feet long, the longest Starbucks bar in the world - because waiting in line is so 2016.
Starbucks sees China surpassing the U.S.as its largest market within a decade as it counts on the country's affluent consumers to offset stagnant growth in the rest of the world. The Shanghai location is Starbucks' second, and twice as large as the Roastery in Seattle. "We've created a space that both recognizes and celebrates our 46-year history of coffee leadership and retail innovation with China's rich, diverse culture".
In Wu Qiong's small cafe in downtown Shanghai, coffee beans nestle in glass jars on the bar while various brews bubble away behind the counter. Each step of the way, customers unlock virtual badges that, at the end, can be redeemed for the Roaster's custom social media filter. The store has more than 400 employees and can serve up to 550 people at a time, according to the Seattle-based company.
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