Today's picture is a shot of the store Starbucks opened in the Forbidden City in China about ten years ago.
Almost as soon as the store opened in created buzz -- especially in the international press -- and conflict. In 2003, Singapore’s Chua Chin Hon wrote, “I’m no anti-globalization protestor, nor am I about to become one.” But then Starbucks opened that Forbidden City outlet and Chua Chin thought he could understand “a little of the rage against the global capitalist machinery’s relentless and oft-times, senseless drive to sell a few more cups of coffee, burgers, or T-shirts.” Four years later, Rui Chenggang, a news anchor for Chinese Central Television, renewed the call to get Starbucks out of the 587-year old former royal residence. He and his supporters accused the coffee company of tainting “China’s national culture.” Looking to pressure the firm, he called for a boycott of Starbucks until it closed shop in the Forbidden City. Eventually the company did vacate this location.
Starbucks left it said out of respect for Chinese culture, but surely it was thinking of the future, of its desire to open thousands more stores in China. It didn't want to make even enemies. Now, though, a Chinese company selling lattes and cappuccinos in white cups with green logos operates out of the same Forbidden City location.