I am not a big fan of Starbucks coffee. I admire it as a company and its business is doing well in the US and internationally. I was a bit surprised last summer when I saw a Starbucks shop inside the Forbidden City (Beijing). This time as I spent more time in Shanghai I found Starbucks and coffee culture is really taking off in China.
I seldom have problem finding a seat in a Starbucks coffee in St. Louis; while it’s often the case in the Shopping malls in Shanghai. Besides friends sitting there for a chat, there are some people working there using laptop computer.
Another thing I noticed is the taste of Caramel Macchiato in Shanghai is different from St. Louis. It’s not as sweet as the US version. Note I am the strange Chinese guy what can enjoy the sweetness of American drink or dessert. Another thing is the Caramel does not taste and smell as good. Maybe they put too less Caramel? It seems to me just like the McDonald and KFC modify the taste of their food to suit the local market, Starbucks is doing the same.
From business point of view, “affordable luxury” is making a lot of money in China. Besides coffee and espresso, other life style related business such as restaurants, clothes, accessories and iPod are also doing well.