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Starbucks, a ubiquitous sight in major Chinese cities, says it has opened over 4,700 coffee shops across the country since 1999.

Schultz, who stepped down as chairman of the chain in 2018 but retains an honorary title at the company, had previously congratulated Xi on China’s transition into “moderately prosperous society”, Xinhua said.

US-China ties have grown increasingly strained under the administration of Donald Trump.

Beijing and Washington have also sparred over blame for the Covid-19 pandemic and China’s human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

But China’s top diplomat Wang Yi has called for both sides to “restart the dialogue” and “rebuild mutual trust” with the incoming US administration of president-elect Joe Biden.

Xi and Schultz previously met at a formal reception in Seattle during the Chinese leader’s state visit to the US in 2015.

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