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People's Daily Online>>China Society

China's middle-class getting addicted to coffee

(Xinhua)

16:49, February 29, 2012

SHANGHAI, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- Three years ago Liu Renhe started his cafe in Shanghai after quitting his job as a high-rolling banker.

"My first sip of coffee was in San Francisco, and it stirred me the whole night and I thought that I would not have it another time, let alone having my cafe one day," Liu said pouring frothy milk on the surface of a mocha, while also speaking about Lao Mai, his small-scaled cafe nestled in the depth of Shanghai's French Quarter.

Chinese have only in recent years taken to drinking coffee as Starbucks and Costal have set up cafes across the nation.

The number of coffee outlets in Shanghai have jumped from less than 1,000 to more than 4,000 in the past three decades, providing positions for over 120,000 baristas, according to the Shanghai Food Association.

And the profit margin of cafes has reached 16.37 percent, overshooting the average 10.6 percent for all businesses, according to the association.

A cup of mocha sells for 35 yuan (5.57 U.S.dollars) at Lao Mai, which is relatively expensive, Liu admitted.

"Many people are in love with drinking a mug of coffee, but you have to be in love with the idea of running a business," said Liu.

Liu set up the business in 2009. He live broadcasted the process of how he designed and decorated his cafe on his microblog, which attracted a large audience.

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