By Hoang Phi - The Saigon Times Daily
|A Starbucks store abroad. Starbucks Coffee Company yesterday announced the opening next month of its fi rst store in Vietnam - Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks|
HCMC – The U.S.-based Starbucks Coffee Company announced on Thursday it will open its first store in Vietnam next month via the partner Coffee Concepts Vietnam Limited.
Jinlong Wang, President of Starbucks Asia Pacific, told the Daily that the only partner licensed to operate Starbucks stores in the Vietnamese market was Coffee Concepts Vietnam, a subsidiary of Hong Kong Maxim’s Group.
The signing with Coffee Concepts Vietnam will maximize the growth potential of Starbucks in Vietnam as the partner has experience in managing 130 stores in Hong Kong and China.
The first store is scheduled to open in HCMC, making Vietnam the 12th market of Starbucks in Asia Pacific.
Starbucks has over 3,300 stores in China and Asia Pacific region.
Since studying the Vietnamese market since 1991, Starbucks has submitted intellectual property protection applications to the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam, with up to 36 applications, according to the office.
Starbucks has made careful steps when entering a market which is one of the worlds’ leading coffee exporters. Wang said that Starbucks understood and respected Vietnam’s long and distinctive coffee culture.
According to some experts, the presence of Starbucks is a threat to existing local coffee store chains such as Trung Nguyen and Highlands Coffee as well some foreign coffee brands like Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Gloria Jean’s Coffee and Hard Rock Café. However, there are some positive views that it is not a threat but makes the market more exciting.
“When Gloria Jean’s Coffees and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf entered Vietnam, many though that they would be able to overtake Trung Nguyen and Highlands Coffee, but in fact, Trung Nguyen is still growing well while the number of foreign brands is not high. Therefore, it is too soon to say whether Starbucks will succeed in competing with Vietnam’s traditional coffee shops or not,” an expert said.
Wang said that Starbucks respects all rivals in Vietnam, and its strategy was to bring unique coffee experiences to customers at Starbucks stores.
Such experiences, according to Wang, are built based on high-quality arabica coffee, products and especially passionate and experienced baristas.
Besides, Starbucks will boost the localization of stores in its business strategy in Vietnam to make Starbucks stores the third destination for local people, after their home and office.
“Starbucks provides much more than just the best cup of coffee, we will offer a place where people come together, connect with family and friends and celebrate the local Vietnamese coffee culture and heritage,” Wang said.
Starbucks has started to purchase high-quality arabica coffee in Vietnam and will continue seeking arabica coffee supply in Vietnam in the long term.
In addition, Starbucks will work closely with local coffee farming cooperatives to increase the quality of arabica coffee and introduce Vietnam’s distinctive coffee heritage to its global customers.