Wed, Mar 09, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Starbucks to sell Via instant coffee in ‘greater China’

Bloomberg

Starbucks Corp, the world’s biggest coffee-shop chain, will start selling its Via instant coffee in the “greater China” region, which it forecast will be its biggest growth market in two years.

The instant coffee, which will include Italian Roast and Colombian flavors, will be sold starting on April 6 at Starbucks’ 800 stores in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Taiwan, said Caren Li (勵靜), the chain’s spokeswoman in China. The products, priced at 25 yuan (US$3.80) for a pack of three and 88 yuan for a dozen in mainland China, will only be available in Starbucks stores, she said.

The chain plans to increase the number of its outlets in China to 1,500 by 2015 from about 400 now. China will be the company’s biggest growth market in two years, chief executive officer Howard Schultz said in November.

Sales at China’s coffee shops more than tripled to 35 million yuan in 2009 from 11 million yuan in 2004, according to data from Euromonitor International.

Starbucks dominated the market with a 70 percent share last year, Euromonitor said.

The Seattle-based coffee chain increased its prices for some Frappuccino products in China by as much as 2 yuan this year as raw material costs rose.

It opened its first store in China in Beijing in 1999.

Starbucks said in November that it would set up a farm and processing facilities in Yunnan Province.

The company had 17,009 stores in more than 50 countries as of Jan. 2, its Web site said.

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