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Economy

Coffee Wars In China: Starbucks vs. Costa

Both the American and British coffee chains have big plans for expansion in China. Starbucks, which has opened 500 stores since it first arrived in China in 1999, is giving more autonomy to its Chinese managers to tailor shops to local tastes.

A Starbucks in Shanghai (Joris Leermakers)
A Starbucks in Shanghai (Joris Leermakers)
Wang Fang

BEIJING - In the capital's Blue Harbor International Business District, there is a Starbucks on one of the outer street corners, and a Costa in the central courtyard. While local Chinese coffee shops dread the opening of a Starbucks in their neighborhood, the British chain shop goes out of its way to try to be as close to as many Starbucks as possible.

The American coffee giant first came to China in 1999. Currently there are 500 branches, with the aim of 1500 more by 2015. Costa entered China in 2006, has just 100 shops now, but is hoping to reach its goal of 2500 stores by 2018.

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Future

Robot Artists And Us: Who Decides The Aesthetics Of AI?

Ai-Da is touted as the first bonafide robot artist. But should we consider her paintings and poetry original or creative? Is this even art at all?

Ai-Da at work

Leah Henrickson and Simone Natale

Ai-Da sits behind a desk, paintbrush in hand. She looks up at the person posing for her, and then back down as she dabs another blob of paint onto the canvas. A lifelike portrait is taking shape. If you didn’t know a robot produced it, this portrait could pass as the work of a human artist.

Ai-Da is touted as the “first robot to paint like an artist”, and an exhibition of her work called Leaping into the Metaverse opened at the Venice Biennale.

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