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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".

Coffee giant Starbucks will open its biggest outlet ever on Wednesday, in Shanghai - and the company is expecting bumper crowds to enjoy the experience of being among the first to enjoy the giant 30,000-square-foot store.

The Shanghai Roastery will also be the first of Starbucks' 27,000 locations worldwide, and the first of its kind in China, to seamlessly integrate a real-time, in-store and online customer experience, powered by Alibaba's Mobile Taobao app and the company's augmented-reality (AR) technology.

Starbucks is now building more net new company-operated stores in China than the USA, said CEO Kevin Johnson, who replaced CEO Howard Schultz in April when the longtime leader transitioned into the role of executive chairman. Since then, it has opened more than 3,000 stores in 136 cities (more than 600 are in Shanghai), and is adding a new one every 15 hours, the company said in a statement.

"One, you must be focused on experiential retail that creates an experience in your store that becomes a destination for the customer", Johnson explained when asked about what physical retailers must consider in 2017.

In the run up to the opening, the Starbucks publicity machine has been in overdrive, hitting social media sites and chat rooms with news and details of he launch.




In China, Starbucks' young baristas and shift supervisors receive a housing allowance subsidy, Wong said.

But the Shanghai roastery won't hold the title of largest Starbucks for too long. It's home to three "coffee experience bars", one of which is 88 feet long, making it the longest Starbucks coffee bar in the world.

The Roastery cafe includes three wooden coffee bars and a dedicated bar that offers China's traditional drink, tea.

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

Starbucks opened its first Roastery in Seattle in 2014. Our corner Starbucks store suddenly seems inadequate!

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