Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Elise Lake

Relational Format



The aim of this thesis was gain a more comprehensive understanding concerning the Chinese consumers understanding of coffee and Starbucks in China as a luxury good. Considering China's recent history, as well as the introduction of a capitalist, consumer economy, examining the Chinese consumers' consumption pattern of this foreign, arguably luxury, good, is reflective of Chinese consumer ideals. A literature review analyzing the relationship between Chinese consumer ideals and the introduction of global consumerism, in addition to a set of interviews and surveys were conducted in attempts to understand the current Chinese consumption patterns of Starbucks coffee. After conducting the interviews and surveys it was concluded that Chinese consumers consume Starbucks coffee for the following reasons: they view coffee as an authentic Western product that reflects the characteristics of their ideal identity, that the consumption of coffee serves as a means to represent themselves as members of a higher class, and that Chinese consumers use this space as a third place — one that exists between the home place and workplace.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

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