Starbucks said Monday it did not sell its VIA instant coffee in supermarkets on the Chinese mainland, responding to claims about "fake Starbucks" found in cities like Beijing and Nanjing.
Media reports have surfaced about "Starbucks VIA instant coffee" found in a number of high-end supermarkets in Chinese cities, with labels describing their distributor as "Guangzhou Baiyi Foods Trade Co., Ltd."
Starbucks China told Xinhua that its "Starbucks VIA" instant coffee is only sold at its outlets and its Tmall store. Tmall is a popular online shopping platform in China.
The company said it will take legal actions against any counterfeited Starbucks products.
A survey in several Nanjing supermarkets by Xinhua reporters found the "Starbucks VIA" in question have almost the same design as those sold at Starbucks outlets, even complete with an "anti-forgery label."
The fake VIA coffee is also marked with a shelf life of 18 months, longer than the eight months on authentic ones.
Starbucks currently has more than 3,600 stores in over 150 cities in China, which has become the fastest-growing overseas market for the U.S. coffee brand.