World's largest Starbucks store to open in China

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

Customers can point their mobile devices at key features around the Roastery to immerse themselves in Starbuck's first augmented reality (AR) experience, which is accessible through the custom-designed Roastery digital web-app platform or on Alibaba's Taobao app.

Starbucks sees China surpassing the U.S.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 30,000 square-feet Starbucks Reserve Roastery on the famous West Nanjing Road shopping strip will open its doors on 6 December. The 30,000 square-feet store - about half the size of a soccer field - is part of upscale moves championed by founder and Chairman Howard Schultz. Customers at this handsome outlet settled on the West Nanjing Road shopping strip, now can watch beans being roasted, sample high-end brews and use a Starbucks augmented-reality digital app to interact with the store. The Roastery's digital experience is designed by Starbucks and powered by Alibaba Group's scene-recognition technology.

Here's what it's like to visit the Shanghai Roastery, the most over-the-top Starbucks in the world.

The Shanghai flagship store will offer a range of Chinese teas at a "tea experience bar", as well.

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. It also sold Tazo, another tea brand, to Unilever in November.

In Wu Qiong's small cafe in downtown Shanghai, coffee beans nestle in glass jars on the bar while various brews bubble away behind the counter.

Green coffee is loaded in the new Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai, China.

Same-store sales at U.S. cafes were up 2% for the quarter ended 1 October, while sales in China were up 8%.

It is the second such high-end concept store opened by the coffee chain after the first opened in Seattle three years ago. In the fiscal year 2017, Chinese sales grew by 7 percent, while global sales grew by 3 percent.

Starbucks opened its first store in China in 1999 in Beijing.

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