As Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) continues to accelerate its plans toward making China its second home market, the company today announced a series of new initiatives aimed at further differentiating Starbucks as the employer of choice in this important market. This employee (partner) investment, together with Starbucks commitment to build thriving communities, will continue the rapid growth the company has seen in China over the previous decade.
Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks, will join more than 1,200 Starbucks partners and their parents and family members at two separate Starbucks Partner Family Forums in Beijing and Shanghai. Themed “Growing Together”, the event is the first of its kind for the company and it recognizes the special role Chinese families traditionally play, while highlighting the commitment by Starbucks to grow and develop its partners.
During his remarks, Schultz said, “Since our inception, Starbucks has believed in building a different kind of a company, one that grows in a way that is driven by our values. Our partners are at the heart and soul of our signature Starbucks Experience, and have contributed greatly to Starbucks success through every single moment of personal connection they have built with our customers. As we expand our footprint across China, we are committed to sharing our success and continue to grow together with them and their families.”
China is a focal point of Starbucks international expansion efforts, where the company has outlined a blueprint for it to become Starbucks second largest market outside the U.S. by 2014, and to have over 1,500 stores across more than 70 cities by 2015. Currently, Starbucks operates over 570 stores across 48 Chinese cities, opening on average one store every four days, with plans to accelerate that pace in 2012.
Attracting and cultivating Starbucks strong pool of talented partners will be critical to realizing the Starbucks China growth story and ensuring the continued delivery of the unique and authentic Starbucks Experience that has been built on the company’s strong coffee passion and leadership in the market. To this end, Starbucks will implement a series of new partner-focused initiatives aimed at creating the best possible workplace for its partners, including a brand new learning and development concept, the Starbucks China University.
The Starbucks China University will be the Center of Excellence for the company’s people development goals and aims to elevate the existing learning and development infrastructure. The effort will introduce new training modules to meet the evolving developmental needs of its retail and support center partners. This virtual training institute will encompass all areas and functions of the Starbucks China business, including retail operations and functional training, coffee and culture and leadership competency, and will incorporate both global and China training curriculums. The Starbucks China University will also potentially collaborate with academic institutions, and related Chinese government agencies, to strengthen its value proposition and offerings.
Apart from investing in training to build the careers of its partners, Starbucks will also set aside an additional RMB1million for the Starbucks China Caring Unites Partners (CUP) Fund, which will be used to provide financial assistance to partners in times of significant or immediate needs.
“As Starbucks enters an exciting, historic phase of our growth in China, our partners will have unprecedented opportunities to build promising careers with the company,” said Belinda Wong, president of Starbucks China. “We want them to grow together with us, and will invest in equipping them with the right skills to take on the new career opportunities, within Starbucks, as we continue our business growth momentum in the market. Starbucks is committed to helping and enabling each of our partners to achieve their fullest potential and realize their career aspirations.”
In addition to investing in partners, Starbucks is also focusing on helping local communities thrive as another key facet of its vision for its growth in China. Through its various community outreach initiatives in 2011, Starbucks partners and customers across Mainland China contributed close to 25,000 community service hours.
To further strengthen its coffee authority and leadership in China, Starbucks has committed to helping local farmers elevate the coffee quality in Yunnan Province while bringing the best of Yunnan coffee to the rest of the world. Through the numerous Starbucks Yunnan Coffee Project planned initiatives, including the increased and direct sourcing of Yunnan coffee and a Starbucks Farmer Support Center, which will be operational within 2012, Starbucks aims to complete its entire value-chain in China – from coffee seed to its authentic StarbucksExperience in the stores.
As it expands its footprint in China, Starbucks will also continue its efforts to connect directly with its customers and understand their needs with respect to the local culture. Starbucks new store designs, which includes its Xintiandi store in Shanghai and its Qianmen store in Beijing, focuses on the balance of the Starbucks heritage and coffee expertise with that of the local environment and cultural heritage.
About Starbucks Coffee Company
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at www.starbucks.com and www.starbucks.com.cn.
This release contains forward-looking statements relating to certain company initiatives, strategies, plans, trends and expectations regarding China, including partner (employees) headcount, the growth and size of the market and timing, the company’s investment approach in China, partner-focused and community-focused initiatives, expansion efforts, number of stores, the pace and form of growth, innovations, connections with our customers, store experience and performance, and leadership position in China. These forward-looking statements are based on currently available operating, financial and competitive information and are subject to a number of significant risks and uncertainties. Actual future results may differ materially depending on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, coffee, dairy and other raw material prices and availability, costs associated with, and the successful execution of, the company’s initiatives, strategies and plans in China and the other markets in which Starbucks does business, changes and uncertainties in economic, social, political and regulatory conditions in China, the acceptance of Starbucks products in China, foreign currency and exchange fluctuations, the impact of competition and other risks detailed in the company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the “Risk Factors” section of Starbucks Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 2, 2011. The company assumes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements.
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