When I left the UK, Starbucks was something our colonial friends had access to, and it was unknown in the UK. Now there are five in Edinburgh, four in Glasgow, and more recently three in Hong Kong. The righteous are up in arms.
Is the Starbucks mermaid a corporate whore? Perhaps, but no more than I am. Corporate whores get big and fat by being good at what they do, and Starbucks makes a damn fine coffee, serves it in a pleasant environment with jolly good food at a reasonable price. The public in Asia want Starbucks because it represents the good things about Western decadence. A little piece of luxury.
It's a hard position to be put in. You're the market leader, and it means that you have to set an example. There are only so many dirty tricks that you can pull, because when you fall, you have further to fall. My company's been there in the early 90s, and it causes us problems to this day. Amazon looks like it will be next to shoot itself in the foot.
A large part of my job is to make sure that we're not shafting the customers. Other than the fact that I'm required to as a function of my profession, it's something I would do anyway. Big companies make money out of little people. The best way to protect that is to keep your nose clean.