Starbucks in the Forbidden City

Case Solution

Michael Netzley
Singapore Management University ()

On January 12, 2007, a prominent Chinese blogger protested Starbucks’ presence in Beijing’s Forbidden City. The blogger stated: “This is not globalization, it is an erosion of Chinese culture.” The blog post marked the beginning of a flurry of criticism when Starbucks was attacked for operating a cafe in China’s Forbidden City. Efforts to remove the iconic western landmark from the center of the Forbidden City quickly became world news. Initially, the story only grew in China’s internet space, but once it was translated into English, it made world headlines in a matter of days. Starbucks was quickly criticized for improperly operating a coffee shop in the middle of a historical and cultural center. What should the company do?

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