World's largest Starbucks opens in .... China

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
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Starbucks has opened its biggest and most interactive store ever, in China, with help from e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

The Shanghai Roastery will be the first Starbucks location to seamlessly integrate a real-time, online-offline customer experience.

The 30,000-square-foot Starbucks Roastery, the first of its kind in Asia, introduces visitors to a fully immersive coffee wonderland. 

"It's obvious to us that the holding power of China for Starbucks is going to be much more significant than the holding power of the U.S.," Schultz said Tuesday at a briefing to unveil the new cafe. China is on course to be the company's largest market in less than a decade, he added.

Alibaba worked in partnership with Starbucks to create an immersive AR experience to bring the Starbucks story to life. Through Alibaba’s Taobao mobile app, visitors can view augmented reality-powered digital menus and details of each coffee bar, brewing methods and merchandise.

This experience also extends to Alibaba’s online marketplace, Tmall, allowing customers to purchase Shanghai Roastery and Reserve branded merchandise and whole bean coffee for delivery directly to their homes, or to register for specially-curated coffee tasting experiences that can be enjoyed at the Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai.

Visitors can point their phones at various locations around the Shanghai Roastery (as shown above) to get an insider's digital look, including peeking inside the massive copper roasting cask, find out about various brewing methods and much more with state-of-the-art augmented reality (AR) technology.