nternational coffee company and coffeehouse Starbucks has again brewed debate over business versus historical interests in China after its opening of an outlet near a famed Buddhist temple in East China.
This is not the first time for Starbucks to light a fire under the kettle in China. In 2007, similar disputes over commercialism in points of historical interest eventually forced the closure of an outlet of the company it had operated for seven years in Beijing's Forbidden city, also known as the Imperial Palace.
"Actually, the coffeehouse is a long distance from the temple. It is located in the tourist service area on Lingyin Road outside of the temple, as part of the supporting facilities," said Wang Shan, deputy director of the Lingyin Administration of the West Lake Administration in Hangzhou, provincial capital of Zhejiang.
Meanwhile, a KFC outlet opened about 50 meters away from the controversial Starbucks months ago, joining other supermarkets and restaurants in the area. The Starbucks outlet was the administration's final plan for the service area.
Wang Shan said the administration has strictly controlled the commercial business environment surrounding the temple. "Many shops have been removed from the scenic area and new businesses can only open after a series of examinations, in order to protect the environment and culture of the Lingyin Temple."