Houston Community News >> China Looking to Close Starbucks in Forbidden City

2/1/2007-- Globalization is always a big topic here at Gadling. Sure, it's great that our fellow countrymen are running successful businesses abroad, but there are certainly times when I'm half way around the world and find myself cringing at a nauseating slice of pop culture or fast food imported from my homeland.

Most recently, we posted about the arrival of KFC in Hanoi. Now, the news from Beijing is that a local Starbucks is causing all sorts of controversy amongst the Chinese.

It seems that people are upset that such an icon of American capitalism is entrenched in the heart of the Forbidden City--the emperor's palace and one of the holiest of Chinese landmarks. As a result, a petition signed by 500,000 Chinese is requesting that the government evict the caffeine-peddling, American usurpers.

Starbucks, which has been in the location since 2000, deserves some credit, however. They were able to occupy the space by promising to donate proceeds towards much needed reconstruction of the palace grounds.

I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The company has managed to somewhat blend in with the surroundings as you can see from the photo above, and they are undeniably helping out. I guess I'm just glad it's not a McDonald's.

(Contributed by Neil Wooburn)