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Starbucks and Costa take coffee to China

Where there’s all that tea already of course.

But globalisation knows few boundaries these days and US coffee shop chain Starbucks, which already has about 300 branches in China, is planning to roll out its newish Via Essence instant coffee there. Via is already established in the US, UK and Canada and recently launched in Japan. Starbucks is hoping for global sales of around $1bn imminently.

Costa coffee shops are owned by Britain’s Whitbread, once a venerable brewer but now a caterer and hotelier. It has a small joint venture in China but is planning to expand its operation dramatically in the hope that young, affluent Chinese will turn away from all that healthy green tea.

The coffee market in China is already estimated to be worth over $2bn so there’s plenty of evidence that it’s a growing taste in the world’s most populous market. But is it globalisation or homogenisation?

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China costa coffee starbucks via essence whitbread

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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