Starbucks Gets Called Out By Chinese State Media Over Prices

Chinese state-run media is accusing Starbucks of charging more for coffee in China than other markets. According to a report, a small — or tall — latte sells for about $4.50 in Beijing. Compare that to $3.43 for the same latte in Brooklyn.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's cross the Pacific, from Seattle to China for our last word in business today. The last word: Things aren't always cheaper in China. Take a cup of coffee, for example.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Chinese state-run media are accusing Starbucks, Starbucks - that symbol of America - of charging more for coffee in China than in other markets. According to a report, a small latte - that's a tall latte in Starbucks-speak - sells for about $4.50 in Beijing. Compare that to $3.43 for the same latte in Brooklyn.

GREENE: China is expected to become Starbuck's second-biggest market after the United States by next year. And so the world's largest coffee chain is taking these accusations seriously.

INSKEEP: Starbucks concedes that a latte in China is more expensive than in the United States. But they say, let us explain. China's got a problem here, high import duties on coffee beans.

GREENE: And also a different coffee culture. While in the United States most customers - like myself - line up and get Starbucks to go on the run, take it to work, take it wherever. The Chinese like to sit and linger over their lattes, which means Starbucks cafes have to be a lot larger.

That's the business news from MORNING EDITION on NPR News. NPR News. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

(LAUGHTER)

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