Starbucks Partners with Alibaba in Opening AR Roastery

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There are plans for a fancy Starbucks roastery to open in NY next year, but the company says it won't be quite as large.

Just in time for the holidays, the world's largest Starbucks is now open in Shanghai.

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Follow Tess on Twitter. Customers can book coffee tasting experiences on Alibaba's e-commerce site and also buy special Starbucks Reserve coffee and related products tied to the store's launch.

Starbucks is going venti in China.

But the roastery in Shanghai won't hold the title of largest Starbucks for too long. The success of the Seattle Roastery, which opened in late 2014, demonstrated to Starbucks the potential for more upscale locations and provided a blueprint for the other Roasteries in the works around the world.

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Starbucks is now building more net new company-operated stores in China than the USA, said CEO Kevin Johnson, who replaced CEO Howard Schultz in April when the longtime leader transitioned into the role of executive chairman. When customers enter the massive new Roastery building, which measures up at 2,700 square-meters (30,000 square-feet), they'll be greeted by a two-story copper cask adorned with over a thousand hand-engraved Chinese stamps, collectively narrating the story of Starbucks coffee.

Simply point a smartphone or tablet at key features around the Roastery to "bring to life information about the Starbucks bean-to-cup story", according to the company.

It will also host the Teavana Bar - its first outlet in China specifically offering a range of Chinese teas.

China is Starbucks' fastest-growing market (it has 3,000 stores with a new shop opening every 15 hours) and the new space is an investment in the future of retail. Starbucks owns 3,000 stores across 136 cities, with 600 stores only in Shanghai.

The company's biggest and most interactive cafe is called the Shanghai Reserve Roastery and it has several hard-to-believe features. That's up from 5.5 percent five years earlier.