Starbucks boldly debuts in coffee-mad Vietnam

Starbucks boldly debuts in coffee-mad Vietnam

Can the roast duck wrap and the Asian Dolce Latte win Ho Chi Minh City's heart?
Starbucks debuts in coffee-mad Vietnam
Starbucks' first Vietnam store, part of an effort by the coffee chain to expand its Asia footprint.

Starbucks' brave foray into coffee-obsessed Vietnam has begun with the opening of its first store in the country, in southern Ho Chi Minh City.

The two-story flagship cafe is in the capital's higher-end neighborhood, District 1. Among menu items, something called a Starbucks Asian Dolce Latte as well as locally flavored snacks like the Parisian Baguette and Roast Duck Wrap.

The company says the design of the new flagship store "upcycles" locally sourced materials -- for example, the community teakwood table was recycled from a local villa and an old "ba gac" (tricycle) is placed as a centerpiece in the store.

Normally, a Starbucks expansion wouldn't merit much coverage. After all, the Seattle-based behemoth already has more than 3,000 stores in Asia alone. 

Starbucks debuts in coffee-mad VietnamIt remains to be seen if Starbucks can make much impact in Vietnam's rich coffee culture. But this is Vietnam, a nation that serves up some of the globe's best coffee and is the world's second highest exporter of beans, behind Brazil.

So will Ho Chi Minh residents happily add the word "frappucino" to their vocabularies? 

Starbucks says it's ready for the challenge.

The coffee chain says it already purchases a notable amount of high quality arabica coffee from Vietnam, "and is committed to sourcing more arabica coffee from the Vietnam region over the long term." 

Starbucks also has yet to move into the tricky coffee market of Italy, despite that country representing, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine article, "the mountain [Starbucks] has yet to climb."

For more on Starbucks' move into Vietnam, check out this article on CNN Money.  

Do you think Starbucks will be a hit in coffee crazy Vietnam? Share your thoughts in the comments box below. 

This article was originally published early January and has been updated to reflect the opening of the store.

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