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International Starbucks now outnumber U.S. units

With an aggressive push into China, the coffee giant officially operates more stores internationally than it does in the States.
Photograph: Shutterstock

It may seem like there’s a Starbucks on nearly every corner. But the Seattle-based coffee giant, which has been making global expansion central to its growth for many years, now officially has more units outside the U.S. than it does inside.

Starbucks has 14,606 company and licensed stores in the U.S. and 14,687 company and licensed units in all other countries, according to Q4 2018 company data.

A large number of those global units are in Asia, where Starbucks has been making a massive expansion push.

China is the chain’s fastest-growing market, and Starbucks has more than 3,500 units in 148 cities there. In fact, Starbucks opens a new store in China every 15 hours, according to China CEO Belinda Wong.  

The company is rolling out innovation in Asia, often at a faster pace than in the U.S. All units in Beijing and Shanghai and 11 cities in China, for example, offer delivery. Starbucks announced it would expand delivery to more than 2,000 U.S. units by spring.

China and the Asia-Pacific market will drive roughly half of all global new store growth in fiscal 2019, according to Starbucks executives.

Newcomer Luckin Coffee, which already has about 2,000 locations in China, has aggressive expansion plans there, however, and could pose strong competition for Starbucks.

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