September 21, 2015 Coffee & Company

Partner Letters from the President of Starbucks China

As China’s President Xi and Madame Peng visit the United States, the president of Starbucks China, Belinda Wong, sent the following letters to the company’s 30,000 partners (employees) in China.

Photo of Starbucks chairman and chief executive officer, Howard Schultz, sharing his gratitude for the welcoming reception China has extended to Starbucks over the past two decades with China President Xi Jinping at the Seattle Welcome Dinner must be credited to Alabastro Photography.

Posted Sept. 22, 11:00 PM PT

Dear Partners,

Good evening from Seattle.  This morning China’s President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan’s landed in Seattle for the first stop on his U.S. state visit. Starbucks senior vice president of Global Responsibility and Public Policy, John Kelly, was extended the honor to greet the President at the airport along with a small number of other business and government leaders. This reception was the first of several exciting events and meetings I and other Starbucks leaders participated in today. 

The highlight of today’s itinerary was the Seattle Welcome Dinner hosted in honor of the President and First Lady that I just returned from. Howard Schultz was extremely honored to be invited to join the President at the head table, where he conveyed the gratitude Starbucks has for the warm reception the Chinese people have extended to our company over the past 16 years and the deep responsibility and love we have for our partners and the communities we serve in China. 

As a Chinese and Starbucks partner representing all of you here, it was an emotional experience listening to President Xi share his hopes and dreams for China and the Chinese people. I am committed to ensuring that we do everything possible to help you achieve your personal and career aspirations. I was overwhelmed with pride when former Washington Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke closed the Seattle Welcome Dinner honoring President Xi with a traditional toast of Starbucks Pike Place Special Reserve coffee, using our very own Starbucks Tasting Mugs.

China President Xi honored at Seattle Welcome Dinner with toast of Starbucks coffee.

This morning, we also hosted several special guests at our Starbucks Reserve® Roastery and Tasting Room on Capitol Hill.  I, along with Starbucks president and chief operation officer Kevin Johnson, and Starbucks chief creative officer and president of global innovation, Arthur Rubinfeld, met with Chairman Jiang Zengwei of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Deputy Director Gu Jun of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce.  They expressed fascination and admiration for the Roastery’s display of coffee theater and artistry. Beijing Kerry Centre store manager Jackie Xu, together with her good friend and Roastery partner, Shawn Gross, hosted exceptional coffee tastings for both delegations that shared Starbucks coffee passion and expertise. Additionally, Charley Jemley, Starbucks senior vice president of Finance for the China and Asia Pacific region, represented Starbucks as a panel speaker at the Ministry of Commerce Investment Forum, emphasizing the critical role that our partners have played in Starbucks success in China and the significant responsibility we have to ensure that we are enabling your personal dreams and professional ambitions. 

Our involvement in today’s distinguished events and the positive response we heard from the business and government delegations we met with would not have been possible if not for the goodwill and positive brand reputation each and every one of you have contributed to our business over the past two decades. Thank you for all that you have done to make this week possible. I am deeply humbled to have the opportunity to work alongside all of you, our most passionate and professional partners.

I want to close by personally thanking Howard for building such a great and enduring company, one that embraces and respects diversity, and genuinely values every partner in China. The support and hospitality being extended by every partner in Seattle to ensure that the hundreds of Chinese delegates, business leaders and other dignitaries here this week receive a warm Starbucks welcome, touched my heart so deeply. Thank you for making all of this a reality.

Above are some snapshots highlighting our proud day in Seattle. The President’s visit continues tomorrow with a CEO Roundtable that Howard has been invited to join that includes leaders from top Chinese and American companies.

I am so honored to be a part of the Starbucks China family.


Belinda Wong

president, Starbucks China

Translation of Belinda Wong's Sept. 22 Letter to Partners

Posted Sept. 21, 7:20 PM PT

Dear Partners,

Greetings from Seattle. As you have probably seen in news coverage, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan will be arriving here in a few hours as the first stop on their U.S. state visit. I am proud to share that Starbucks is one of only a small number of U.S.-based companies that were appointed to the official Welcoming Host Committee.  

I am extremely honored to be here this week on behalf of all you, our 30,000 China partners, to welcome President Xi and more than 1,000 Chinese Government and business delegates. I, along with Howard Schultz and other Starbucks leaders, will be participating in a number of events and meetings over the next few days including the National Banquet Dinner on Tuesday evening welcoming the president.  Howard will also be participating in a CEO Roundtable discussion with President Xi on Wednesday morning. 

These and other meetings will provide us with a significant opportunity to convey the gratitude and responsibility we have to all of you and the communities we serve in China. These conversations will also demonstrate how Starbucks is a different kind of company, a company that aims to lead through the lens of humanity by taking great care of our partners, investing in the communities we serve, and uplifting the spirits of our customers every day.

Jackie Xu, Beijing Kerry Centre Store Manager, is also with me in Seattle, representing you, to welcome, host and ensure the seamless delivery of the unique Starbucks Experience to our distinguished guests from China.

Over the next few days, we will continue to keep you updated on these exciting and important events. I am confident that the Starbucks story, and our passion for the highest quality coffee, will connect our cultures and people across China and the U.S.

Our mission since we opened our first store in Beijing in 1999, and which continues to guide us today, is based on the foundations of love and humanity. I am extremely optimistic about the opportunity ahead for Starbucks China – a bright future that all Starbucks partners and Chinese people can be proud of. 

With warm regards and appreciation,

Belinda Wong

president, Starbucks China

Translation of Belinda Wong's Sept. 21 Letter to Partners

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