Shaun Rein
Shaun Rein

China’s central TV CCTV tried to strike a popular chord by going after the high prices of the lattes at Starbucks. But the action kicked back, as the audience made jokes about CCTV. Business analyst Shaun Rein explains in NBC why CCTV went after the wrong company.


Shaun Rein, the founder and managing director of Chinese Market Research Group, a strategic market intelligence firm in China, told NBC News that the motivation behind CCTV’s report is to protect Chinese brands and domestic consumers – but it chose the wrong company and wrong product this time around.

“It doesn’t make sense to target Starbucks,” Rein said. “Starbucks is a luxury product in China. For [Chinese customers], this is a lifestyle experience. Its main customers in China are women their 20s, who see it as a fashionable place to go. They go to Starbucks once a week and spent several hours there at a time. “

“If it’s too cheap, consumers will doubt its quality,” Rein said. “For Chinese, in terms of food, expensive means safety.”

Rein also cited taxes, employee training and logistics in China as key costs that drive up the price of coffee in chains like Starbucks.

CCTV’s report on Starbucks has caused an Internet sensation. Sina Weibo alone had over 4 million posts on the subject by Tuesday afternoon – most of them criticizing CCTV for going after Starbucks.

More in NBC.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

China Weekly Hangout

Harm Kiezebrink
Harm Kiezebrink

China is preparing for a new bout of bird flu. In Zhejiang the first victim was infected with the H7N9 virus, and chicken farms are preparing for the upcoming new year, meaning more risks. The +China Weekly Hangout is on Thursday 24 October discussing with bird flu expert Harm Kiezebink how you can prepare you and your company when the bird flu pandemic hits China. You can register here to participate, or read the full announcement here.

China’s media are making advances in Africa. The China Weekly Hangout discussed 0n March 7 those advances different Chinese media groups make in Africa with veteran journalists Eric Olander of the China Africa Project, and Lara Farrar, previously working for both the China Daily and CNN. Moderation by Fons Tuinstra, president of the China Speakers Bureau.

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