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Quote from Starbucks (SBUX) Chairman Howard Schultz on today's earnings conference call:

Turning to China, as you know this market is a top priority for us as we believe it can ultimately be one of our largest markets outside of the United States. I ended the calendar year with another visit to that country and while I was there, I visited numerous stores, our Greater China Support Center in Shanghai, and hosted several partner forums. I also delivered keynote addresses at three prestigious Universities: Shantou, Fudan and Beijing University to speak to business school students to both seed the brand with this important audience and, most importantly, to recruit some of the sharpest, youngest minds to come to work for Starbucks.

You may recall we began fiscal 2007 with the acquisition of a 90% interest in our Beijing operations. We are very enthusiastic and ready to take this market to the next level. Now, with managing control, we are able to begin utilizing some of our own infrastructure investments we’ve put in place over the last year to lead the Greater China market in building a consistent operating platform and delivering legendary service to our customers. We see many unique opportunities to further enhance the Starbucks Experience in Beijing in preparation for the Summer Olympics in 2008.

Excerpted from the full Starbucks earnings call transcript.

Source: Starbucks Chairman Discusses China Visit