Food & Beverage

Schultz: A new Starbucks opens daily in China

Howard Schultz on Starbucks' growth
Starbucks sales stumble in Asia
Lavazza takes on Starbucks

Even an economic shake-up in China can't shake global demand for frappuccinos, if Starbucks has anything to say about it.

Starbucks is opening a store a day in China, CEO Howard Schultz said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

"Despite all the concern and the chatter about Asia Pacific and China, we had a very, very strong Asia Pacific quarter, with 6 percent traffic," Schultz said. After noise of the stock market fracturing in China, he said sales actually accelerated throughout the quarter, particularly in October.

Sales in China and Asia Pacific grew 110 percent year over year to $652.2 million in the quarter ending in September, the company reported Thursday. That's compared to just 11.3 percent growth to $3.38 billion in the Americas, according to the earnings release.

But same-store sales in Asia Pacific were slightly below expectations. Comps rose 6 percent there, short of the 9.6 percent analysts were expecting.

Schultz was among CEOs to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping in Seattle earlier this year. There, the world leader encouraged business to play the long game with the growing Chinese middle class, Schultz said.

Schultz: Starbucks 'ahead of the curve on employee benefits'

"Our success in China — although, it's not a given — I think we have a great opportunity to build our major business," Schultz said, adding that China might one day be a larger market for Starbucks than the U.S.

Shares of the coffee and food company were mostly flat Friday morning after it posted results that beat analyst expectations for same-store sales overall and met earnings estimates.

The company said it plans to open approximately 700 stores in the Americas in the next year and approximately 900 in Asia. Starbucks opened 1,677 new stores in 2015, finishing the year with 23,043 stores, the release said.

Schultz also discussed with CNBC plans to expand initiatives around mobile pay, now up to 5 million payments per month, and employee benefits, which he said has improved employee retention at the company.

"We're going to continue to make sure that Starbucks as a company achieves the fragile balance between profit and conscience," Schultz said.