Starbucks Kicked Out Of China's Forbidden City

Starbucks has been kicked out of China’s Forbidden City, according to the Seattle P-I, following months of controversy over remarks made by a Chinese State TV news anchor. According to the anchor having a Starbucks in the Forbidden City, “undermined the Forbidden City’s solemnity and trampled over Chinese culture.”

Starbucks says:

“Starbucks appreciates the deep history of the Forbidden City,” said Wang Jinlong, president of Starbucks Greater China.

“We have been honored to have had the opportunity to cooperate with the Forbidden City to enhance the experience of visitors to the museum. We fully respect the decision of Forbidden City to transition to a new mode of concessions service to its museum visitors.”

Does this mean we should remove all the Chinese-made trinkets from Washington D.C. gift shops?

Starbucks closes store in Beijing’s Forbidden City [Seatlle P-I]
(Photo:d’n’c’)

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  1. Falconfire says:

    undermined the Forbidden City’s solemnity and trampled over Chinese culture.

    Hate to break it to them, but the completely Chinese run tourist trap that is the Fobidden City is what undermines it. It was only a matter of time before the Starbucks and McD’s showed up there.

  2. SBR249 says:

    While I love a good cup of coffee as much as the next person, I’d have to say good riddance to that. I mean, how would the Muslim community feel to have a starbuck in the Kabba (sp) or the Italians to have a starbucks in the Colisseum or the Americans to have one in the Capitol? Somethings should jsut be left alone.

  3. Pelagius says:

    Well, there’s a McDonalds in the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.

  4. banned says:

    Right or wrong, I have no sympathy for Starbucks. If I travel to China, I think I’ll stay away from western stores and actually enjoy another culture.

  5. Pelagius says:

    @rocnrule: Enjoy those cardboard dumplings!

  6. synergy says:

    Wow, the U.S. is full-on trade warring on China. That’s just plain stupid. They WILL lose. China, Korea, and Japan hold most of our debt. We start pulling the tiger’s tail, it will swipe us with man-killing claws.

  7. DCvision says:

    I just returned from 2 weeks in china, and although I am not a big fan of starbucks $3 coffee… the chinese haven’t figured out how to make a good cup of coffee. After about 10 days on tour, the starbucks store in Shanghai was a welcome sight…

    [www.flickr.com]

  8. spidra says:

    Hey, as long as we’re going to be inundated by Starbucks locations, I sure wish they built them looking like that here. That’s a great facade.

  9. Fuzz says:

    I hate Starbucks coffee. Nasty, burnt bitter. . .but I have to agree with DCVISION. I’d drink Starbucks any day over the coffee in China. Nasty stuff, that is. Although I don’t agree with having it IN the Forbidden City. I don’t think chains should be aloud in any national monument. They belong to the people, not the corporations, and corporations shouldn’t be profiting from them.

  10. LionelEHutz says:

    Maybe they could have stayed in the Forbidden City if they had agreed to offer ethylene glycol as a syrup for their flavored coffees.

  11. asherchang says:

    @rocnrule: maybe if visiting any country but China, where they serve old fish and food bleached by hydrogen peroxide.

  12. Pelagius says:

    @Fuzz: What do you expect from coffee made from human hair?

  13. Trai_Dep says:

    So the store with the bobbing Mao dolls is next on the list?

  14. josh1701 says:

    According to this CNN article, “Starbucks out of China’s Forbidden City,” here’s what led Starbucks to close in the Forbidden City:

    “Eden Woon, Starbucks vice-president for Greater China, said the museum management had decided to introduce its own branded stores and merchandise after a year-long review.

    “Starbucks was offered the option to revamp the outlet as a “coffee shop” selling domestic coffee and other beverages alongside its own brew, but decided it wanted to maintain its own brand.”

    In addition, “The Starbucks store was located inside the vast complex, where the museum management also operates cafes and eateries selling coffee, tea and beer.”

    It appears to me that museum management believes it can make more money on concessions on its own than having to split the profits with Starbucks, and with a captive tourist audience they’re probably right.

  15. royal72 says:

    @synergy: “Wow, the U.S. is full-on trade warring on China…”

    uh, no… well unless you consider sensationalist journalism, blogging, and commenting as warfare. sounds more like bitching to me, just as i am doing now. if someone hasn’t already, there needs to be a “i h8 chinese products” myspace page, to make the war official and everything.

  16. orielbean says:

    This was probably a test case for the museum people – “look, we let them in for a year or so, see how the business does, and then kick em out and copy it – dvd-style”

  17. Ray Wert Jr says:

    @DCvision: I don’t know how it was in Shanghai, but I’ve never paid more than $1.85 for their coffee. Perhaps you got “Shanghai’d”

  18. Kurtz says:

    @LionelEHutz: Isn’t that what Juicy Raspberry is made from?

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    @josh1701: So the other shoe drops. It’s not that the Chinese want to retain the sanctity of a treasured national monument from crass commercialism, it’s that they want their adulterated, knock-off, probably poisoned products to crassly commercialize a venerated national monument. Good to know.

  20. medcat2010 says:

    If the city doesn’t have a Starbucks there, who cares? There’s only 8 bazillion of them in the rest of the world within miles of each other. And what about all the American companies that thrive on low production cost products from places like China to sell here for an inflated price? I don’t suppose that has a correlation to the incidence of low quality, unsafe merchandise. I’m also sure they care.

  21. Chicago7 says:

    Just judging from the picture, that’s about as low-key a Starbucks as I’ve ever seen.

    My first thought was “Starbucks in the Forbidden City? WTF?” But, that picture makes me say “Why not? , if they’re willing to tone down all the ads and icons”

  22. FromThisSoil says:

    Yes, remove the trinkets.

  23. Havok154 says:

    What will they do without their $8 cup of mediocre coffee?

  24. TVarmy says:

    @SBR249: I could see it in America. Love it or hate it, corporations are pretty much the biggest force in our nation, show our individualist spirit and economic philosophy at their best and worst, and are largely responsible for our growth into an economic superpower.

    But I’d draw the line at Arlington and war memorials. Death and sacrifice are permanent, countries and corporations are relatively ephemeral.