Dec 18, 2012

Vietnam - Starbucks primping for debut in Vietnam market

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Starbucks, the world’s largest and most famous coffeehouse company, is planning to open its first Vietnam outlet in mid-January in Ho Chi Minh City, a spokesman for the company said last week.

The information was released by Nguyen The Khoa, communications representative of Starbucks in Vietnam. Previously, a location consultant for Starbucks in Vietnam revealed that the American coffeehouse leader would make its Vietnam debut late this year and add three to five others in 2013.

Khoa said the debut was delayed because more time would be needed to make for better preparations for its arrival in Vietnam. The first outlet would be located near Ben Thanh Market in the city’s downtown District 1.

Khoa added that Starbucks would appear in Vietnam via franchise business model.
An official of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment told VIR that Starbucks did not directly apply for an investment certificate in the city.

“We are preparing for Vietnamese customers to enjoy the well-known coffee Starbucks,” Khoa told VIR.

In 2011, Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz told Wall Street Journal that his company would endeavour to explore Vietnam market before 2013. He had been previously concentrating on entering China’s giant market, and eyeing India as well.

“Asia clearly represents the most significant growth opportunity on a go-forward basis,” Schultz said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“India and Vietnam are two markets we would like to get to at some points. We are still at the embryonic stages of what Asia will be for the company,” added Schultz.

Starbucks, founded in Seattle, is a trend-setting pioneer in the premium coffee business.

Vietnam has welcomed several foreign coffee-shop operators such as US-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Australia’s Gloria Jean’s Coffees in big cities to compete with domestic operators like Trung Nguyen and Highland Coffee.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf told press at its opening of a new store in District 1-located Petro Vietnam Tower early December that it was preparing for many other coffee stores in Vietnam in 2013.

Vietnam’s current per capita coffee consumption, while increasing, is only about 1.15 kilogrammes per person, still considerably lower than other producing and importing countries such as Brazil’s 5.8kg per person, Honduras’s 3.6kg per person, Canada’s 5.9kg per person and the US’ 4kg per person.

Minh Thien |

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