Starbucks Adds Augmented Reality to Shanghai Roastery

A “Steampunk” device uses steam to extract the best flavor from tea at the Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai

Starbucks Adds Augmented Reality to Shanghai Roastery

Customers can watch coffee beans being roasted, try some of the high-end products and even interact with the store through an augmented reality mobile app on their phones and tablets.

Starbucks Corp sees China surpassing the United States as its largest market within a decade as it counts on the country's affluent consumers to offset stagnant growth in the rest of the world. The first Starbucks Reserve Roastery opened in the company's home city of Seattle.

Starbucks' Shanghai Roastery, a 30,000 square feet coffee heaven located in the heart of the city on China's central coast also features a Teavana bar made from entirely 3-D printed material and a two-story copper coffee roasting cask covered with 1,000 hand carved traditional Chinese stamps. Starbucks has said it could open as many as 20 to 30 Roastery stores around the world.

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The Seattle-based company is homing in on its fastest-growing market as it searches for ways to kick-start sluggish global sales after saturating the U.S. with lattes and cappuccinos.

"It's obvious to us that the holding power of China for Starbucks is going to be much more significant than the holding power of the United States", said Mr Schultz at a briefing to unveil the new cafe. Starbucks now runs 3,000 stores in China, where it claims to be opening "a store every 15 hours".

It wouldn't come as a surprise if this "friendship" and "shared values" resulted in key partnerships that would tremendously benefit the Starbucks brand in China, which helping Ma leverage Starbucks' considerable presence in the United States and other key markets. Of that, China contributes the largest chunk of income. Starbucks said that the shape was inspired by an espresso machine.

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In 2012, Starbucks China has operated the China Starbucks Farmer Support Center in Pu'er in the Yunnan Province, supplying agronomists to work in concert with government representatives and local farmers to improve quality and production through the region.

Starbucks already has 600 stores in Shanghai, more than NY or London.

Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said the store would blend the company's 46-year history in the coffee shop business with "China's rich, diverse culture". At more than twice the size of the original Reserve facility, the Shanghai roastery will be followed by additional Starbucks Reserve roasteries in New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Milan. The concept is part of a broad push upmarket that includes a line of premium coffee called Reserve and cafes to showcase the new brand.

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