Photo: David Gómez-Rosado, Flickr
So what's really fueling China's rise to be the next superpower? Could it be...Starbucks?
Oh what a difference a global recession makes. Three years ago, as sales of its overpriced lattes tanked, the world's largest coffee chain scurried to shutter stores and slash payrolls.
Now, the empire strikes back.
Today Starbucks has set its sights on a kind of global domination. The chain celebrated record profits in 2010, as Nation's Restaurant News reports, and it's looking to parlay its recovery into worldwide expansion, with China as a major focus.
Displaying some Venti-sized ambition, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz admonished investors at the company's annual meeting in Seattle to "put your seatbelts on because the best is yet to come."
Company execs say that Starbucks is already one of the top 20 most recognized brands in China, and they want to triple the number of stores there by 2015. Coffee fiends around the world should also expect to see more Starbucks-branded merchandise in grocery stores, as the company seeks to build its portfolio of packaged goods to a point where it rivals the revenue generated by its coffeehouses.
And Starbucks isn't content with just hawking roasted beans.
By unveiling a new logo this year that keeps that strange double-tailed siren but pointedly drops the words "Starbucks Coffee," the company hopes to be able to slap its brand on an as-yet-unnamed array of products.
Watch out, China-you could be eating Starbucks chow mein by 2013.