, China

Starbucks to invest US$130m to build largest overseas roaster in China

The coffee chain shrugs off worries about the long-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Starbucks has committed to invest US$130 million into building its biggest overseas coffee roaster near Shanghai.

The new roaster in the city of Kunshan - dubbed the Coffee Innovation Park - will be Starbucks' first in Asia. With stores in the region depending on US-based roasters, the coffee giant aims to open the new roaster by 2022.

Starbucks warned investors earlier this month that the disruption in China alone would reduce expected revenues by US$400 million to US$430 million in the quarter ending March 31.

However, the company said it plans to operate 6,000 stores in China by 2022, higher from around 4,200 currently.

"Starbucks has always taken a long-term view in China, and our commitment to the market has never been stronger," Starbucks China chairman and chief executive Belinda Wong said.

As of 5 March 5, more than 90% of the company's China outlets have been operating, with some open only for delivery whilst others are restricting seating and closing early. The company also disclosed that mobile phone orders for about 80% of sales during the last week of February.

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