PU'ER, China, December 12, 2012 - As part of its commitment to elevate China's Yunnan Province as a high-quality coffee growing region, Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today announced the opening of its first Asia-based Starbucks Farmer Support Center in Pu'er, China. In addition, Starbucks reported that the pilot local adaption tests for four coffee varietals, first introduced in Yunnan about three years ago under the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) agreements with the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science and People's Government of Pu'er City, Yunnan Province, are progressing on-track. The local adaption test currently spreads across more than 650 hectares of coffee farms in eight different locations in Yunnan, and subject to local Government approvals, Starbucks is targeting the commercial planting of these coffee varietals at the end of the five-year test cycle.
John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, and Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China, unveil Starbucks first Asia-based Farmer Support Center, in China's Pu'er City (Yunnan Province), with senior officials from the Yunnan Provincial Government and Pu'er Municipal Government. (Photo: Business Wire)
"The opening of the Starbucks China Farmer Support Center is a significant milestone in Starbucks continued investments in China and the Starbucks Yunnan Coffee Project," said John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. "We are committed to deepening our relationships with local Chinese farmers, through our work with the Yunnan Provincial Government and the Pu'er Municipal Government. We believe Yunnan will play an important strategic role in our long-term supply of premium arabica coffee, as we continue to expand our store base in China, reaching 1,500 stores in 2015."
Starbucks agronomists and quality experts at the Starbucks China Farmer Support Center will work directly with Yunnan's coffee farmers to provide resources and expertise to promote responsible coffee-growing practices and processing methods that improve quality.
"Starbucks Yunnan Coffee Project is about creating a positive change for local China farming communities. We are pleased with the progress of the local adaption tests as it signifies that we are taking one more step forward to completing the Starbucks China value-chain; delivering premium arabica coffee from bean to cup," said Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China. "Our vision is to leverage our global coffee leadership, sharing our coffee knowledge and expertise to elevate the Yunnan coffee industry and help local farmers develop localized, high-quality coffee that can be celebrated and served in Starbucks stores across China and globally."
Through the globally-tested coffee knowledge and best practices developed under Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, and with the support of the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science and local Government authorities, Starbucks aims to work directly with Yunnan farmers to help reduce the environmental impact of the region's coffee-growing activities and improve the livelihood of the farmers and their families. Based on Starbucks experience working with farmers through its Farmer Support Centers in areas like Costa Rica, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Colombia, Starbucks firmly believes that efforts by Starbucks China Farmer Support Center will enhance the breadth and depth of Yunnan's coffee leadership, and deliver tangible and significant benefits to local farmers, communities and the economy.
Starbucks-AiNi Group Joint Venture Momentum
Starbucks and AiNi Group, one of Yunnan Province's most established coffee operators and agricultural companies, announced the establishment of Starbucks AiNi Coffee (Yunnan) Co. Ltd. in early 2012. To date, the joint venture is progressing towards its development goals and the processing mill will be operational later this month, just in time for Yunnan's current coffee harvesting season. The mill, under Starbucks–AiNi joint venture company, will be able to process up to 20,000 tons of green coffee beans annually.
"We are pleased to be working with Starbucks to support this strategic coffee growing region in China. The combined strengths of Starbucks coffee passion and sustainability practices, along with our years of experience in agricultural production will elevate the overall Yunnan coffee industry and ultimately improve the quality of coffee harvested by our coffee farming communities. Operationalizing the processing mill later this month will be a proud milestone for the Starbucks-AiNi joint venture company," stated Liu Minghui, General Manager, Starbucks AiNi Coffee (Yunnan) Co. Ltd., and Founder and Chairman, AiNi Group.
Starbucks today operates more than 700 stores across more than 50 cities in China. Starbucks entered the Yunnan Province with the opening of its first store in Kunming in May 2010 and has since expanded to six stores within the provincial capital. With plans for China to become the second largest market outside the U.S. in 2014, Starbucks aims to accelerate its developmental growth plans in Kunming and beyond.
About Starbucks Coffee Company
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. China will become Starbucks second largest market outside the U.S. by 2014, and Starbucks aims to operate over 1,500 stores in China by 2015. Starbucks currently operates over 700 stores across over 50 cities in China. Through our Starbucks partners, we insist on our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup.