Starbucks has lofty expectations of how its growth will unfold in China over the next few years, stating this week that it fully expects China to be its second largest retail market by 2014. That would move China ahead of Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan to trail only the United States in the list of top countries by retail store count.
By 2015, Starbucks forecasts its Chinese store sales to top $715 million USD.
The comments were made by John Culver, the president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, during the Boao Forum for Asia this past weekend in Hainan province. Culver has overseen the ambitious growth path that Starbucks has been on in Asia recently, seeing the coffee chain open stores in 13 new Chinese cities alone in 2011. By 2015, Starbucks claims that it will be open for business in a total of 70 Chinese cities.
In October, Starbucks celebrated the opening of its 500th store in China as it welcomed customers into its newest store in Beijing. By 2015, Starbucks plans on having 1,500 stores in the country. The staggering growth forecast illustrates the level of opportunity that the company sees in a growing and changing Chinese population.
Foodbeat’s Take: The popularity of the brand in Asia could be a huge win for investors looking for a great growth story abroad. However, there have been a lot of companies who have tried to enter the Chinese and Asian markets in similar fashion that have had unforeseen challenges pop up along the way. While we would love to see this play out as well as Starbucks hopes it will, we will be watching the Asian market metrics and guidance that Starbucks shares over the next few quarters to see how closely they stay on track with their forecasted growth.