Starbucks’s green-siren logo, lattes and Frappuccinos will soon be making their debut in Laos, as the world’s largest coffee chain seeks to expand in Asia.
The Seattle-based coffeehouse will open its first store in the capital city of Vientiane by the summer of 2021, making it the 17th Asian market in which the company operates. Starbucks currently has more than 10,000 stores in the region, according to its website.
“We’re excited to bring the Starbucks Experience to Laos, which has a rich history of coffee production and thriving coffee culture,” Michael Conway, executive vice president of Starbucks International Licensed Stores, said in a statement.
Laos has a population of about 7 million and annual per-capita income of about $2,600, according to data compiled by the International Monetary Fund.
Coffee Concepts (Laos), part of Maxim’s Caterers, will operate Starbucks stores in Laos under a licensing agreement. Through Coffee Concepts, Starbucks now operates more than 800 stores across Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. Across Asia, Starbucks has more than 10,000 stores, led by China and Japan, according to its website.
Starbucks’ entry into the frontier economy of Laos comes as the company’s recovery in same-store sales and operating margin have been squeezed by surges in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe. In China, August results were flat, signaling expectations of a recovery in the first quarter, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
In August, Thailand-based CP All Pcl signed a franchising pact with 7-Eleven Inc. to establish the convenience store in Laos for 30 years.