The Starbucks experience in China is way different than in the US (SBUX)

Starbucks in China may be more futuristic than what most Americans expect.

“We were struck by how different the Chinese consumer experience is from the US,” Jefferies analyst Andy Barish wrote in a note to clients. “Almost all digital needs – social, chat, transport, ecommerce – are consolidated within just a few apps.”

In the United States, some still argue that “cash is king,” and parts of the country will have pockets of cash-only businesses. In China, cash is a relic of the past. Alipay and WeChat run the market, supporting purchases from street-food vendors to utility payments. As a result, Starbucks will be upping its game to court these highly digitized customers.

With 80% of Starbucks transactions in China being cash-free, the company now has an extra 30 labor hours a week to put towards customer engagement, Barish wrote.

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