The company said it will build 300 new stores in Japan by 2021.

Share story

While China is one of Starbucks’ two most important markets globally, the company has other business to do in Asia.

The coffee giant said late Wednesday it plans to accelerate growth plans in Japan — a market it first entered 22 years ago — by opening 300 new stores in the next three years and bringing its total there to 1,700.

Starbucks saw same-store sales in Japan grow 3 percent during its fiscal fourth quarter, the best it’s done in the last seven quarters. China, by contrast, saw same store sales grow 1 percent — an improvement from the 2 percent decline Starbucks reported for its fiscal third quarter.

Starbucks also plans to begin delivering coffee to Japanese customers through a partnership with Uber Eats after a test it announced with the company in Miami in September. The Japan delivery program will begin modestly, with delivery from five locations starting Thursday, but the company said intends to scale it up in the next two years.

The company sees delivery as an increasingly important part of its growth strategy. It plans to offer delivery  from 2,000 stores in 30 Chinese cities by the end of the year as part of a partnership with Alibaba Group.

Starbucks said it has developed specialty lids, tamper-proof seals and thermal packaging in a bid to maintain the quality of delivered coffee drinks.

In Japan, Starbucks is teaming up with social-networking company Line for promotions and a version of mobile order and pay technology beginning next year.


Starbucks sales surge in fourth quarter on strength in the U.S., but profit shrinks

Starbucks opens first U.S. sign language store — with murals, tech pads and fingerspelling

Starbucks hands off the reins to Mexican partner in four European markets

Starbucks adds subsidized backup child and senior care to U.S. benefits package