Starbucks Makes Significant Education Investments to Develop Future Leaders in China

BEIJING, June 5, 2014 – Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today reaffirmed Starbucks commitment to leverage the company’s unique combination of passionate partners (employees) and store footprint to deliver long-term growth through the lens of humanity. Speaking at Beijing’s iconic Great Hall of the People, founder of the Starbucks Foundation, Howard Schultz, announced a total of US$3 million investment in China by the Starbucks Foundation spanning three years, including US$1.5 million to the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF), following his meeting with Mr. Hu Qili, Chairman, China Soong Ching Ling Foundation. The commitment, administered by Give2Asia, a social enterprise dedicated to building a civil society across Asia, furthers the eight-year partnership with CSCLF, designed to unleash lifelong educational and leadership opportunities for young people in China.

 “As Starbucks China has grown to now more than 1,200 stores in over 68 cities, and 20,000 partners, so too has our foundational aspiration to build a different kind of company in China; one committed to performance that is driven through the lens of humanity and locally relevant innovation,” said Schultz.  “Today, we are proud to honor and renew the Starbucks Foundation’s ongoing partnership with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation to enrich the lives of Chinese youth and be a positive force in building their future success.”

With the investment of US$1.5 million from the Starbucks Foundation, through Give2Asia, the CSCLF will convene leading experts in the areas of youth development, training, academics and business to establish a unique curriculum that combines business acumen, collaborative communications and social consciousness focused on developing future leaders in China. Through the “Youth Leadership Development Program”, students will build their skills and also have mentorship opportunities with Starbucks senior leaders. After participating in the program, students can choose to apply for training courses under the Starbucks China University or corporate internship opportunities with Starbucks in China. The program will reach 1,500 university students across China, from both urban and rural areas and those with disadvantaged backgrounds, over the three years. 

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with the Starbucks Foundation to continue to foster young leaders in China who have demonstrated a passion and commitment to serving the society around them,” said Mr. Jing Dunquan, vice-chairman, China Soong Ching Ling Foundation. “The investment from the Starbucks Foundation will directly develop locally-relevant education and mentorship programs for university students to build leadership skills in communities across China.”

Since 2006, the Starbucks Foundation and China Soong Ching Ling Foundation have partnered to address relevant needs across China. From providing 3,000 rural teachers with innovative teaching methods, providing 1,200 aspiring teachers with college scholarships and supporting over 900 environmental conservation projects by university students, the two organizations look forward to continuing their collaboration to positively impact communities.  

Celebrating New Opportunities for Partner Growth

Earlier this week, Schultz also joined more than 1,200 Starbucks partners and members of their family in the South China region at the Starbucks China Partner Family Forum in Guangzhou. This first-of-its-kind partner engagement event in the city was first introduced by Starbucks in 2012 in China as part of a series of new initiatives aimed at further differentiating the company as the employer of choice in the market. Themed “Inspiring and Celebrating Love, Humanity and Opportunity,” the event highlighted Starbucks commitment to build one of the world’s most trusted, admired and enduring brands, while investing in the long-term development and career growth of its partners.

“As Starbucks continues to grow in China, our partners will have unprecedented opportunities to build long-term careers within the company,” said Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China. “Through unique initiatives such as the Starbucks China University, we will continue to make investments in our partners to help them achieve their fullest potential and realize their career goals.”

Since establishing Starbucks China University in November 2012, the company has provided a 625,000 training hours to nearly 14,000 partners.

On track to Operate 1,500 Stores by 2015

The China market has been key to Starbucks international expansion efforts since the opening of its first store in Beijing in 1999. In fiscal 2013, Starbucks opened more than 300 stores and delivered the unique Starbucks Experience to customers in 10 new cities across China. Today, Starbucks operates more than 1,200 stores across 68 cities and is on track to become the company’s largest market outside of the U.S. by the end of 2014.Looking ahead, Starbucks expects to reach 1,500 stores by 2015, and since 2011, has created 14,000 new job opportunities. 

“The equity of the Starbucks brand in China has always been a result of the passionate partners who wear the green apron and deliver the unique Starbucks Experience to our customers each day. We will continue to listen to our partners and customers and innovate in ways that grow the brand and our people in the right way for China,” added Schultz.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements relating to certain company initiatives, strategies, plans, trends and expectations regarding China, including the size of the market and timing, expansion efforts, number of stores, the pace and form of growth, store sales, innovations,  connections with our customers, store experience and  performance, and leadership position in China.  These forward-looking statements are based on currently available operating, financial and competitive information and are subject to a number of significant risks and uncertainties.  Actual future results may differ materially depending on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, coffee, dairy and other raw material prices and availability, costs associated with, and the successful execution of, the company’s initiatives, strategies and plans in China and the other markets in which Starbucks does business,  changes and uncertainties in economic, social, political and regulatory conditions  in China, the acceptance of Starbucks products in China, foreign currency and exchange fluctuations, the impact of competition and other risks detailed in the company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the “Risk Factors” section of Starbucks Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 29, 2013.  The company assumes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements.