Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co. advanced its growth plans in China with the opening of its 100th store in Beijing, celebrating the first store in the China market led by all certified coffee masters. The new Beijing store is located in the Solana International Business District and, like the first Starbucks in the city, it is staffed by all Starbucks coffee masters, which are baristas who have completed a certification program through coffee skills and knowledge training. The company also announced the launch of Starbucks China University, its talent development program, to further support Starbucks partners in the region.

“China is a focal point of our global expansion efforts, and we are proud to bring this unique store, staffed by all partners certified as coffee masters, to our customers here in Beijing and further demonstrate our espresso leadership,” said Belinda Wong, president of Starbucks China, in a statement. “Beijing is where we started our journey in China, opening our first store in 1999, and we are proud to now operate 100 stores across the city and more than 700 throughout Mainland China.”

Starbucks announced that China will be its second largest market by 2014 and will have 1,500 stores by 2015 across more than 70 cities.

To help Starbucks partners in China enhance their coffee and service expertise, the company has initiated its first class at Starbucks China University. This virtual university features a personalized learning experience through various customized methods, including digital and mobile platforms, to provide partners with modules matching their interests and career development goals through a curriculum focusing on leadership skills as well as a deep understanding of Starbucks coffee craftsmanship and culture, the company says.

“Our partners are at the heart and soul of our signature Starbucks experience and also the cornerstone of Starbucks’ success. It is therefore critical that Starbucks continues to invest in their development, share with them the company’s success and set them up for future growth and development,” Wong said in a statement. “These investments are critical as we work to achieve our ambitious goals and future aspirations in China.”

At the same time, Starbucks China University will be implementing a “Partner Professors” initiative. These “Partner Professors” comprise experienced professionals from store partners to senior management executives, each possessing deep coffee knowledge, practical business retail expertise and business management skills.

Through Starbucks China University, Starbucks will conduct more than 200 different training modules through the end of 2015 at various levels through the organization. Starbucks China University also is looking to collaborate with academic institutions and related Chinese government agencies to strengthen its value proposition and offerings in the market.