BOAO, China (TheStreet) -- Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) is planning a big expansion of its China business, according to published media reports.

The coffee-shop operator plans to triple its number of stores in China from 500 to 1,500 by 2015, said John Culver, the head of Starbuck's China and Asia Pacific business, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Such an expansion will require lots of hiring, and Culver said Starbucks will "more than triple the size" of its China workforce, the Journal added.

Culver was interviewed at the Boao Forum for Asia, a gathering of business and political leaders in the southern province of Hainan, the newspaper said.

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Culver also said that the expansion would be based on a bigger push into smaller Chinese cities, Bloomberg reported.

Shares of Starbucks closed Friday up 16 cents at $55.89.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.