Everyone is getting in on the bandwagon to expand business in China, and now we can count coffee chain Starbucks among the ranks as well. Today an executive from Starbucks Corp announced that the company has plans to triple its number of locations in China within the next four years, in addition to rapid expansions elsewhere throughout Asia.
Starbucks Corp opened its first location in China back in 1999. As it stands now, the company has 470 locations in the country across 42 cities, and hopes to increase that number to 1,500 by the year 2015. In addition, Starbucks has expressed an interest in increasing its number of outlets in South Korea to 700, and will be opening its first outlets in India and Vietnam through 2013.
As if actual location growth weren’t enough, Starbucks also announced plans to launch its Via Ready Brew instant coffee packets throughout Asia as well, introducing the brand this month to South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Australia.
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Why so much focus on Asia for Starbucks? According to reports, sales in Asia have remained strong even while the economy elsewhere has eaten into potential profits. “We've seen very strong same store sales across Asia, double digit growth in some markets," Starbucks Asia Pacific president Jinlong Wang told reporters in Singapore, according to the Associated Press. That adds up to good things for Starbucks, and a smart business strategy in focusing on growth in China and surrounding regions.
“The coffee industry in China has huge potential," added Wang. "China has 5,000 years as a tea-drinking country, but we've created a new coffee culture."