Step Inside the World's Largest Starbucks Location

The cavernous 30,000 square-foot location is the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery-a so-called experience center-outside the brand's hometown of Seattle.

"With the rising middle class and the opportunity in China, the market is going to be much larger here", he said, adding Starbucks was looking to hit 10,000 outlets in China within a decade, catching up with the USA in terms of stores. Customers at the cavernous new outlet on the West Nanjing Road shopping strip can watch beans being roasted, sample high-end brews and use a Starbucks augmented-reality digital app to interact with the store.

The firm held a 54.8 percent share of China's 25.2 billion yuan ($3.81 billion) specialist coffee shop market a year ago, far ahead of rivals like McDonald's Corp's McCafe and Whitbread Plc's Costa Coffee, Euromonitor data show. "It is also another example of Starbucks tying together a physical store experience with new technology" said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson when announcing this at the GeekWire Summit in September.

The Starbucks Foundation and Starbucks China plan to make charitable donations totaling about $20 million, or 132 million yuan, over the next five years to drive social impact in communities across China.

Thus, Starbucks envisages making mainland China a vital market by opening 5,000 cafes there by 2021. Last quarter, China posted an 8 percent increase, compared with a 3 percent gain in the USA, excluding impacts from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

"This is a show store", Gordon said. "The innovation that I see in China is going faster and will be more comprehensive than anything we see in other parts of the world".

"Jack and I have spoken about a lot of different things", he said referring to Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, when asked whether the partnership could extend beyond mobile payment services.

What would a supermarket-size coffee shop look like?

But despite all of Shanghai Roastery's features, it's still a coffee shop at heart.

In addition, Starbucks has included an augmented reality or AR experience for people who visit Shanghai's Roastery. Starbucks Roastery stores are the company's new upscale coffeehouses in major metros.

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