Starbucks targets new market, coffee exporter in Laos

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Starbucks on Monday announced plans to open a store in Laos as it expands its network to more than 10,000 stores in Asian countries.

The company said it plans to open the store in the Laotian capital Vientiane by next summer.

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The outlet will be operated by Coffee Concepts (Laos) Ltd., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Maxim’s Caterers Ltd., Starbuck said in a statement that it intends to use its global scale to have a positive impact and career opportunities among the poor, landlocked country bordered by Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and China.

“We are pleased to introduce the Starbucks brand in Laos, which builds on our 20-year relationship with Starbucks to develop the coffee industry in Asia,” said Michael Wu, President and CEO of Maxim’s Caterers Limited.

Many Laotians drink powdered coffee containing milk and sugar, as is the case in much of Asia, but the country of 7.2 million people is a coffee exporter and has its own. coffee roasters and craft stores.

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Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Laos was attracting a growing number of foreign tourists, with more than 4 million visitors in 2018. Local incomes have increased, but still on average around $ 300 per month.

The company said in a statement that it intends to take a “relevant local approach” to its customers, tourists and Laotions.

“We will take a thoughtful approach to drive sustainable growth in Laos and look forward to contributing to the country’s vibrant coffee culture,” Starbucks said.

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Starbucks has said it is monitoring the coronavirus situation but is still aiming for an opening in the summer of 2021.

Laos, a landlocked country bordered by Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and China, has so far only reported 24 COVID-19 infections, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

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Such records are believed to underestimate the true number of cases due to testing issues and a large number of asymptomatic coronavirus cases. But pandemic precautions severely limit travel in the region.

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“We will work closely with local health authorities, as we do in all markets, making decisions with the health of our partners and customers in mind,” Starbucks said.

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