Starbucks Partners with Alibaba in Opening AR Roastery

Starbucks Partners with Alibaba in Opening AR Roastery

In major news for Chinese coffee lovers, Starbucks Coffee Company is set to open its new Starbucks Reserve Roastery tomorrow, December 6th, in Shanghai.

Good news for coffee lovers near Shanghai, they have opened the doors to the largest Starbucks location yet.

China has become Starbucks' second largest and fastest growing market, and one the company expects to eclipse the US market one day.

The AR experience is powered by Alibaba Group's scene-recognition technology and users can access digital experiences, such as viewing menus, ordering special coffee blends and booking customised experiences via a dedicated Roastery app or through Alibaba's Taobao app.

This new Shanghai store is almost 30,000 square feet, has over 100 beverages on the menu, and allows customers to participate in the first AR (augmented reality) experience from Starbucks.

It is the second such high-end concept store opened by the coffee chain after the first opened in Seattle three years ago.

Chinese are usually less hooked on coffee than their American counterparts, but for the growing middle class, Starbucks is still viewed as an attractive aspirational brand.

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The company has already has plans to open an even bigger store in Chicago in 2019. The location has gourmet drinks - like nitrogen-infused teas - and an 88-foot-long, hand-crafted coffee bar.

"With the rising middle class and the opportunity in China, the market is going to be much larger here", he said, adding Starbucks was looking to hit 10,000 outlets in China within a decade, catching up with the United States in terms of stores.

People gather in the new Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai, China.

The Shanghai space also features a Starbuck's Teavana Bar, as well as coffee from Pu'er, a famous tea area in China's Yunnan province in the country's far southwest.

Shares of Starbucks have risen 5.8 percent this year.

He also said that China was becoming the most important market for Starbucks.

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