Starbucks to Open in India This Year

Posted January 30th, 2012 at 10:40 am (UTC-5)
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Starbucks will open its first stores in India this year, as part of a 50-50 joint venture with India’s Tata Global Beverages.

Company officials said Monday the first stores will open in the Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, with at least 50 stores to be opened across the country by year’s end.

The president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, John Culver, told reporters Monday that the Seattle-based coffee chain will move as quickly as possible and the expansion of stores will depend on customer feedback.

The deal will likely ease the the problem of high real estate costs for Starbucks, which is planning to open stores in hotels and retail outlets owned by Tata. Starbucks outlets are also planned for shopping malls, airports and railway stations.

Starbucks and Tata say the initial investment will be $80 million.

While India is largely a nation of tea-drinkers, Western-style coffee chains have gained popularity among its fast-growing, wealthy middle class.

Starbucks will face competition from established domestic chains like Cafe Coffee Day, which operates some 1,200 outlets in India.

The U.S.-based coffee chain entered into the joint venture with India’s Tata group, despite a recent decision by the Indian government to allow foreign single-brand retailers to open stores in the country without local partners.

Under the deal, Starbucks will also buy its coffee from the Tata group.