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Vietnam's Coffee Culture Presents Some Challenges For Starbucks

May 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Sales at Starbucks Corp.'s flagship store in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, have exceeded expectations since its opening in February 2013, according to company CEO Howard Schultz. Unlike in other Asian markets where Starbucks often had to introduce coffee drinking to a local population used to drinking tea, Vietnam has had a long history of coffee drinking. Coffee culture in Vietnam dates back to the 19th century, when the Vietnamese adopted the habit from French colonizers. So, while Starbucks adopted local design to create a Vietnamese flavor to its first store in the country, some local consumers assert the company needs to do more, such as using drip filters on top of coffee mugs, like the locals do. Starbucks assert, however, that its offering goes beyond coffee drinking; after all, the company is also known for the ambience of its coffeeshops.
JAMES HOOKWAY, "Starbucks Brings Its Culture to Vietnam", Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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