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Executive Chairman Howard Schultz, speaking at the launch of Starbucks' first overseas "Reserve Roastery" – an opulent flagship store with gourmet coffees and a bakery – said China was on track to be "bigger, more powerful and more significant" than the firm's U.S. business.The firm held a 54.8 percent share of China's 25.2 billion yuan ($3.81 billion) specialist coffee shop market last year, far ahead of rivals like McDonald's Corp.'s McCafe and Whitbread PLC's Costa Coffee, Euromonitor data show.Shanghai alone has an estimated 6,500 coffee houses, with small chains, independent stores and bakeries battling for a slice of a market that Mintel says could grow to 79 billion yuan by 2022 from 60 billion yuan this year.Starbucks itself is doubling down on China, where in the latest quarter it saw 8 percent same-store sales growth and said it would buy out its joint venture partner in east China for $1.3 billion.
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