After success in India and Vietnam, the iconic green siren may soon be moving into Myanmar as well. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he foresees investments in Myanmar in the next few years. The economic and political reforms in Myanmar are attracting foreign investors and global brands worldwide. With such positive feedback from their introduction to the Asian market place it presents an intriguing opportunity for the Starbucks Company to expand further.
Schultz made his statement on Myanmar while visiting Bangkok, Thailand to announce the opening of Starbuck’s first ‘community store’ outside of the United States. The community store concept is based on profit sharing to support the neighborhood where it does business. A portion of the revenues earned at the new Bangkok store will support farming communities in Northern Thailand that grow coffee for the chain; it will be specifically directed to the Integrated Tribal Development Program to support education, health, and irrigation projects. As for their placement in China Schultz described Starbucks as having a “unique opportunity to maintain our leadership position” despite the slowing economic growth and rising competition. He believes trust from many constituencies in China will cultivate continued success in that market place. Starbucks is one of many U.S. companies looking to Asia for investment and expansion; China is expected to quickly surpass Canada as Starbuck’s second biggest market. With stores in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and South Korea, Myanmar will be a familiar market for Seattle’s international coffee chain.