Forbidden City Gets Starbucks to Go

Chain 'respectfully' withdraws from historic site at heart of Beijing
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2007 10:29 AM CDT
Visitors sit in front of the closed Starbucks outlet in Beijing's Forbidden City Saturday, July 14, 2007. China's imperial palace, known as the Forbidden City, closed its Starbucks outlet Friday following...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Starbucks shuttered its store in Beijing’s Forbidden City yesterday, ending months of controversy over the American chain’s presence at the former imperial palace. The 600-year-old complex, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, is now a museum where the caffeine titan opened its doors in 2000, the Seattle Times reports.

A Chinese TV personality had waged a campaign against the Forbidden City Starbucks, arguing that the store trampled on Chinese culture. Apparently unwilling to imperil its chances of expanding in a potentially huge market, Starbucks, which currently has 250 locations in China, bowed out without a fuss. A company exec tells the AP the move was a "very congenial decision."