In a move aimed at accelerating growth in China, Starbucks Corp. has taken ownership of its stores in certain regions in the country that were previously operated by joint-venture partner.
The Seattle-based coffeehouse chain on Wednesday said it has signed an agreement with joint-venture partner Maxim’s Caterers Ltd., which gives Starbucks 100-percent equity of all of its businesses in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Hainan, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Hubei, as well as the municipality of Chongqing.
As a result, Starbucks said it now has control of more than half of its roughly 400 locations in mainland China.
Under the agreement, Maxim’s has acquired 100-percent equity of the 110 Starbucks locations in the Hong Kong and Macau markets.
John Culver, president of Starbucks Coffee International, said in a statement that the shift in ownership is part of a broader strategy to build China as “our second home market outside the U.S.” and to accelerate growth with the goal of reaching 1,500 stores in China by 2015.
“In addition, this agreement demonstrates our commitment to our 11-year partnership with Maxim’s,” he said. “We are confident they will continue to maximize the growth of the Starbucks brand in the Hong Kong and Macau markets, delivering an unparalleled Starbucks experience to our customers.”
Maxim’s and Starbucks opened the first of the chain’s coffeehouses in Hong Kong 11 years ago.
After reporting second-quarter results in April, including a 20-percent increase in net income, Starbucks said transactions and same-store sales have increased by double digits at locations in China.
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