Whitbread has opened its latest Costa coffee store in China's Beijing ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games.
The Costa store, located in the Shang Di shopping mall, is the first as part of a joint venture between Whitbread and the Beijing Hualian Group.
The partners intend to open 300 Costa shops in the next five years in Beijing and the surrounding provinces of North-east China.
This is Costa's second joint venture in China, where it currently operates 25 stores with the Yueda Group in Shanghai.
Whitbread is aiming to open 600 stores in China over the next five years.
Costa's managing director John Derkach described the venture as another "major milestone" for Costa.
"Our strategy has always been to operate more than one joint venture in China, to fully capitalise on the vast opportunity of China's continued economic growth and aspiring young consumers," said Derkack.
Retailer the Beijing Hualian Group has annual turnover in excess of £1.3b. The group operates 70 hypermarkets and department stores along with 10 shopping centres.
Whitbread group currently operates over 750 Costa stores in the UK and over 300 internationally in 23 different countries.
By Gemma Sharkey
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