Starbucks coffee shop operating in the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace at the heart of Beijing, has closed down after years of opposition.

An online campaign to protest that the shop was trampling on Chinese culture had drawn more than 500,000 signatures.

Starbucks, which has 3,000 international stores include 239 outlets in China, opened the shop in Forbidden City seven years ago. It was originally invited to open in the Forbidden City by Palace Managers in order to raise money for maintenance of the complex. It removed its round green, the registered Starbucks logo brand sign two years ago to address cultural sensitivities. But the shop continued to draw protests.

The Starbucks branch was told it could stay open if they selling domestic coffee and other beverages alongside its own branded brew. “There were several choices, one of which was to continue, but it would not carry the Starbucks name any more. We decided at the end that it is not our custom worldwide to have stores that have any other name, so therefore we decided the choice would be to leave,” said Starbucks’s vice-president for Greater China Eden Woon.

China state TV personality Rui Chenggang led the online campaign, saying the shop’s presence “undermined the solemnity of the Forbidden City and trampled on Chinese culture”. The palace is undergoing restoration that includes toning down the commercial aspect.