Coffee Cultural Revolution

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If you were taking a body shot off of Melinda Gates’ chest at Davos and overheard someone mutter “is there a Chinese guy bitching about Starbucks?,” it was not the oxycotin chaser talking, it was Rui Chenggang.
Chinese television anchor Rui Chenggang is throwing a hissy fit over the Starbucks that resides inconspicuously in the Forbidden City, located in the middle of Bejing, surrounded by a six meter deep moat and ten meter high wall. The literal translation of the Chinese term used to describe the Forbidden City means “Purple Forbidden City,” which sounds like a bad Jefferson Starship song or porno, and thus was lost in translation. Home to Emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties and now home to the Grande Half-Skim Cinnamon Dolce Latte, the site is the world’s largest palace complex.
Can you imagine there not being a Starbucks within a world’s largest palace complex distance from your office? For me, case closed, for Rui-dog, he’s out for justice, and this time it’s personal. When not sculpting his guns at the office or eating a whale’s vagina (a Chinese delicacy), anchorman Chenggang is blogging about evil American companies or how President Jintao’s gold Marc by Marc Jacobs bag is both undeniably adorable and totally not okay, all at once. Chenggangbang originally launched his complaint against Starbucks in his blog, which then led to a comment denouncing the coffee chain’s location on Chinese television last week. Now, Rui has been Chengspotted at a press luncheon in Davos expressing his surprise to the widespread reaction to his blog, which has attracted over half a million readers and elicited over 2,000 comments.
Starbucks has 53 other locations in Bejing, none more popular than the Forbidden City location, partly because the bathroom inside the Forbidden City Starbucks contains the only other Imperial throne within the complex.
With the success of the Starbucks location, a slew of other American franchises and other businessmen are rumored to be opening locations in the Forbidden City including:
-A Pizza Hut inside the Hall of Supreme Harmony (huge startup synergies with the Hall’s current pagoda architecture)
-A Taco Bell inside the Palace of Heavenly Purity (image consultants were responsible for this, trying to shed the chain’s E.coli burrito factory reputation)
-A disgruntled hot-dog vendor outside the Gate of Divine Might
Also the Mongolians have been spied trying to smuggle in one of their patented woks past the Meridian Gate and into one of the Three Front Halls.
The Starbucks website is currently unable to map the location of its Forbidden City branch, and you need to call the store directly for hours.
Tempest in a Coffee Cup – [DealBook]

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