On The Radar: Starbucks expands in Asia

 In New Zealand, your local Starbucks would be an odd place to catch up for a business meeting and a flat white. In Asia, there’s prestige to Starbucks and the brand knows it. This week, it revealed plans to ramp up its Asia presence with 400 extra stores in 2023.

According to Inside Retail, the expansion will include new cities and outside of major metropolitan areas in markets such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. In Laos, where it entered the market for the first time in November 2022 in the capital city of Vientiane, Starbucks also plans to open a new store. 

The rollout plans exclude the company’s Chinese and Japanese operations, as they are managed by a separate entity. To date, there are 5000 Starbucks in Asia (excluding China/Japan). The 5000th just opened in South Korea, and it’s a 500sqm drive-through in the business district of Gwangyang-si (pictured above). Last month, Starbucks also launched its first community concept cafe in Taiwan in Xiulin Township with local operator Uni-Wonder Corporation.

This is the biggest expansion in the Asia region in five years, and according to CNN, the move is intended to seize on Asia’s reopening as it continues to bounce back from Covid-19. “We are seeing headwinds shifting to tailwinds across markets around the world, including the Asia Pacific region, and continued recovery coming out of the pandemic,” said Michael Conway, Starbucks’ president of international and channel development, in a press release.

“The Asia Pacific region will continue to be a key growth driver for Starbucks globally and we remain optimistic of its long-term growth and opportunities, underpinned by a growing middle class and rising coffee consumption." 

- Asia Media Centre