China has welcomed Starbucks with open arms; since its launch there 13 years ago in Beijing, it has since moved into Shanghai and Guangzhou, Starbucks China Chief Marketing Officer Marie Han Silloway, said in a recent interview with adage.com.

The coffee chain is now expanding into lesser-developed cities and expects the country to become its second-largest market by 2014. It now operates 600 cafes in the country and has plans to hit 1,500 by 2015.

However, it faces challenges when it comes to customs and taste, said Silloway, whose marketing strategy focuses on educating the tea-drinking culture about coffee, as well as the more typical branding and marketing campaigns.

What Starbucks already has in China is a reputation as a trendy, upscale location. Consumers there believe that a city with a Starbucks is up and coming, according to the story.

From the story:

"The way you know when you've arrived as a town or city is when Starbucks arrives. It used to be McDonald's, and before that it was KFC," said Paul French, chief China market strategist at research firm Mintel. "Now Starbucks is the place where you go if you have cash and want to flash it. The new middle class can sit there and look out the window and drink their Frappuccino and say, 'We've made it.'"

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