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Starbucks to ramp up expansion in China

July 27, 2013 at 1:07 PM

BEIJING, July 27 (UPI) -- U.S. coffee retailer Starbucks said it will maintain plans for rapid expansion in China, where it is challenging a tea-drinking culture.

Starbucks said it will open its 1,000th store in China by the end of the year after opening about 500 stores in 2012, CNNMoney reported Saturday.

Starbucks said revenue from the Asia-Pacific region were up 30 percent in the second quarter 2013 from the second quarter 2012.

The average consumer in China drank two cups of coffee per year in 2012.

The global average is 134 cups a year, suggesting great potential for an increase in China, Euromonitor said.

"The very strong sales volumes prove that the coffee concept can succeed in traditional tea-drinking countries," said R.J. Hottovy, director of consumer equity research at Morningstar Inc.

Dana LaMendola, a hot drinks specialist at Euromonitor, said it is "still too early to say that coffee is going to replace tea, or that the Chinese flavor profile is changing."

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