Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) marked the opening of its 100th store in Beijing this week with a renewed commitment to the coffee shop company's China expansion.
"China is a focal point of our global expansion efforts and we are proud to bring this unique store, staffed by all partners certified as Coffee Masters, to our customers here in Beijing and further demonstrate our espresso leadership," Belinda Wong, president of Starbucks China, said in an announcement released yesterday. "Beijing is where we started our journey in China, opening our first store in 1999 and we are proud to now operate 100 stores across the city and more than 700 throughout Mainland China."
The company's reach has rapidly expanded in the last few years. In October 2011, Starbucks had only 278 stores in China, and just 408 at the end of September 2012.
Starbucks says that by 2014, China will be its second-largest market, with 1,500 stores in more than 70 cities. The company operates around 7,000 stores in the United States.
Starbucks also celebrated its first "graduating class" from Starbucks China University, a company-specific educational program similar to McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) Hamburger University in Illinois.