Jun 292004

Starbucks, Starbucks, Everywhere

A while ago, Fred Wilson wrote a posting about the incredible ubiquity Starbucks has achieved in recent years. I wrote a comment at the time, but I never know who actually reads blog comments other than the author.

The comment was:

Talk about ubiquity…my wife and I were just travelling in Asia and saw many Starbucks there, which was not a surprise. The one that WAS a surprise, however, which completely blew me away, was the Starbucks located in the middle of the Forbidden City/Imperial Palace in Beijing, the 600+ year old home of China’s emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. To be fair, it was tastefully done (no big green awning), and if it weren’t in its particular location, some other refreshment stand would be in its place, but still, I couldn’t help but feel like the conspicuous American in the crowd as I walked past it.

Anyway, now that Mariquita and I have finished our vacation web site, here’s the image of the implausible Starbucks Forbidden City location, in all its glory (even without the big green awning).

If you want to be tortured by a full complement of China and Japan pictures and the accompanying travelog, feel free. From the Wall to temples to big Buddhas to a well-chronicled sashimi dinner, it’s all here.

Filed under: Travel


  • http://sapventures.typepad.com/ Jeff

    the other interesting observation about foreign-based Starbucks is that they don’t translate the menu or change the decor. It is comforting to me to know that I can walk into the Starbucks in Shanghai and it’s as if I was in Palo Alto. The only thing that really sucks is that they don’t open until 10am, I guess coffee in the morning is not a cultural staple yet.

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  • http://www.kinabaloo.com/beijing.html Beijing Dan

    As long as it doesnt detract, it doesnt matter who runs the refreshment counter.

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    The collections of the Palace Museum are based on the Qing imperial collection. According to the results of a 1925 audit, some 1.17 million items were stored in the Forbidden City. In addition, the imperial libraries housed one of the country’s largest collections of ancient books and various documents, including government documents of the Ming and Qing dynasties.