Starbucks has unveiled plans to open its first coffee shops in India by September as part of a joint venture with the Tata group, the country’s biggest business conglomerate.
The first outlets, which are to be co-branded “Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance,” will open in Mumbai and New Delhi, according to Reuters.
The move comes a year after Seattle-based Starbucks concluded a deal with Tata’s Global Beverages division to buy coffee from Tata and open retail outlets in the country.
According to the BBC, the joint venture plans to invest $80 billion initially. There are currently more than 17,000 Starbucks around the world, with around a third of these spread across 50 countries outside the US.
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Last year Starbucks announced a reorganization of its activities, creating a China and Asia Pacific division with the goal of breaking into the then-untapped Indian market.
The coffee chain’s entry comes at time when coffee outlets are enjoying increasing popularity in India, according to Fox Business.
Tea-drinkers by tradition, a growing middle class within India has recently taken to embracing western-style café culture, with young urban professionals in particular frequenting quick-service outlets to purchase espressos and cappuccinos.
Domestic coffee consumption in the country rose to an estimated 108,000 metric tons in 2010, up 80% in the past decade, according to the most recently published government figures.
Tata Starbucks aims to have 50 cafés up and running in India by the end of year, according to Tata Global Vice Chairman R. K. Krishnakumar. It is likely to face stiff competition from local market leader Café Coffee Day, as well as other big players like the Barista Lavazza chain and Costa Coffee.
However, Starbucks is hoping to take advance of Tata’s sprawling presence across India and open cafés in the software-to-steel conglomerate’s hotels and retail outlets, as well as in other locations likes malls, train stations and airports.
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