On Thursday, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced that in 2017, the company’s planning to open its first international “Starbucks Reserve Roaster & Tasting Room” in Shanghai.
Starbucks is the Seattle-based company's largest international market, with more than 2,100 stores across over 100 cities. There over 300 locations in Shanghai alone.
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, told CNBC that Starbucks is betting big on China, where the java giant's business has the potential to grow past that of the United States.
"I wouldn't be surprised if one day we have more stores in China than we do in the United States," Schultz said in an interview with "Closing Bell“. "We've been so successful in China over many years and we're just starting to get the morning-day part — where we're educating local Chinese to drink coffee in the morning."
While he's predicting a strong expansion in China, Schultz isn't planning to speed up the pace of store openings. Starbucks plans to open 500 locations a year in China over the next five years.
In addition, Schultz’s also unconcerned about the changes expected in the Chinese economy over the long term, claiming that Starbucks will stay on the offense in spite of the fact that China falls into a recession.
"There's going to be cyclical changes as the Chinese government goes through this significant economic transformation. But I think what we've established early on is a great enduring relationship with the local customer and … the municipalities," said Schultz, "I'm very optimistic over the long term that we will succeed there and build long-term value for our shareholders."