Starbucks to open 1st store in coffee-loving Vietnam

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 03 2013 04:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 04 2013 12:50 AM

HANOI - Starbucks said Thursday it would open its first store next month in Vietnam, seeking a foothold in the coffee-loving country as part of efforts to expand in Asia.

The communist country's first Starbucks cafe will be in southern Ho Chi Minh City, the US beverage giant said in a joint statement with its local partner, Hong Kong's Maxim Group.

"Vietnam is one of the most dynamic and exciting markets in the world and we are proud to add Vietnam as the 12th market across the China and Asia-Pacific region," said Starbucks China and Asia Pacific president John Culver.

Starbucks has been targeting growth outside of the stagnant US market, opening thousands of stores in China and across the Asia-Pacific region over the past few years.

In October, it opened its first stores in India, in partnership with domestic giant Tata Global Beverages.

Unlike tea-drinking India, Vietnam -- the world's second-largest coffee producer -- already has a strong local coffee culture with dozens of popular local chains and small coffee-shops on nearly every street corner.

"Starbucks is deeply respectful of Vietnam's long and distinctive local coffee culture," Culver said in the statement.

"We know coffee is a national pride for many Vietnamese and as such, we look forward to contributing and growing Vietnam's already vibrant coffee industry," he added.

Starbucks already purchases "notable" amounts of high-quality arabica coffee from Vietnam and is committed to buying more over the long-term, according to the statement.

Culver said in December that Starbucks will have almost 4,000 stores in the Asia-Pacific region by the end of 2013, including 1,000 in China.

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