Chinese president Xi Jinping is traveling to Seattle accompanied by more than 1,000 others, according to a letter sent by a Starbucks executive to the Seattle company’s staffers in China. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was part of the host committee organizing the visit.
Xi’s entourage, made up of Chinese government and industry officials, will meet with U.S. counterparts at a variety of events in which Starbucks and other U.S. companies will participate.
Starbucks executive Belinda Wong, who leads the company’s China operations and penned the letter, will be there, and so will Jackie Xu, a Beijing store manager. Schultz will be part of a roundtable Wednesday among 15 U.S. and 15 Chinese CEOs, and Xi is expected to make an appearance.
Wong, writing to the company’s 30,000-plus employees in China, said that in the meetings, Starbucks hopes to “convey the gratitude and responsibility we have to all of you and the communities we serve in China.”
China is a big deal for Starbucks –its fastest growing market outside of the U.S.With nearly 1,700 stores there, there are more Starbucks in China than in any country except the U.S. Shanghai has more Starbucks stores than any other city in the world.
Stores there are also immensely profitable, and company executives have recently said that despite a general slowdown in the economy, Starbucks’ numbers in China remain solid.