British coffee chain Costa Coffee has major expansion plans for China.
Costa started opening shops in China six years ago as part of a strategy to ‘make China our second home’, according to Andy Marshall, managing director of the company’s international franchise business.
Owned by Whitbread, Costa will open 400 more stores in China, bringing its store total to 700 by 2017.
Similar to other consumer companies attracted to China, Costa is targeting China’s huge middle class population. The coffee seller believes that “people in main urban populations can afford to pay for a cup of its coffee once their annual income has breached the $20,000 mark,” reports The Financial Times.
Costa Coffee will compete with rivals like Starbucks who has been very successful in China by building stores to suit local preferences and elevating the experience factor. Starbucks is the standard for coffee sellers in China, but new entrants are arriving every day.
Chinese coffee consumption has skyrocketed. Based on research from Mintel, the number of coffee shops in China has doubled from 15,898 to 31,283 between 2007-2012. “One interesting factor at play, however, is that many Chinese coffee drinkers place greater value on the experience and environment these cafes provide, rather than on the quality of the coffee itself,” reports China Briefing.
China Briefing noted that “Shanghai is currently the coffee culture capital of China – boasting over 100 total Starbucks outlets, the highest average annual coffee consumption levels per person, and a prominent café culture.”
image credit: costa coffee