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Starbucks to open its first outlet in Vietnam

Global coffee-chain giant Starbucks will enter its 12th Asian market next month when it opens an outlet in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.

Coffee Concept, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Maxim’s Group with stores in Hong Kong and Macau, is the licensee for Vietnam and will operate the location, the Wall Street Journal reported Starbucks as saying.

The article quoted Starbucks China and Asia-Pacific president John Culver as saying t Asia was the largest and most immediate retail growth opportunity for Starbucks.

“We’ve been in the region going on 16 years and, given our success in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as our overall financial performance, we see Vietnam as the next natural entry point,” Culver said.

Starbucks says Vietnam has a strong coffee-drinking culture.

“Vietnam is the second-largest coffee-producing country in the world  behind Brazil,” Culver said.

“We’ve been sourcing coffee from there for several years.”

Competition is stiff in Vietnam, however, so Starbucks’ presence there will possibly be smaller than it plans for India or China.

Even so, Culver believes it will make inroads eventually: “Over the long term, we see an opportunity to have hundreds of stores in Vietnam.”

RMA Cambodia CEO Rami Sharaf said the expansion into Vietnam did not automatically mean Starbucks would enter Cambodia.

“I don’t think there is any linkage,” Sharaf said.

 “Having launched in China a couple of years back, that didn’t have any reflection on launching in India, which makes more sense, development-wise.

“We know the similarity between the two markets.

“I don’t think there is any linkage that says if they come to Vietnam it means they will automatically come to Cambodia.”

On October 19, Tata Starbucks Limited, a joint venture by Starbucks and Tata Global Beverages Limited, opened the first Starbucks coffee store in India.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anne Renzenbrink at anne.renzenbrink@phnompenhpost.com
Rupert Winchester at rupert.winchester@phnompenhpost.com

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