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Coffee giant Starbucks (SBUX - 44) retails, roasts, and provides its own brand of specialty coffee through retail locations in North America and the Pacific Rim. Currently SBUX is traversing through some rough seas in the Far East. According to a Beijing story, the opening of a Starbucks outlet in Beijing's 600-year-old Forbidden City is creating quite an uproar in China. The media there is alleging that 70 percent of people would rather not sip the American coffee chain's frappuccinos in the footsteps of the Son of Heaven. The opening is looked at as a slap in the face of the Chinese people who are still smarting from the 1999 U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
The new SBUX outlet joins the vacant remains of Tricon Global's (YUM – 35-1/8) Kentucky Fried Chicken and a McDonald's (MCD – 29-13/16) restaurant adjacent to Tiananmen Square whose leases were revoked or expired. The growing tension towards America and its businesses could cause further closings and rejected lease offers by other American corporations hoping to tap into the Asian market.