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Starbucks Corporation announced today that it will enter the ready-to-drink coffee category in Japan and Taiwan. The combined ready-to-drink market in these countries represents more than U.S. $10 billion in total annual consumer sales. In March, agreements were signed with Starbucks local business partners and major distributors in both countries to manufacture and distribute a Starbucks-branded premium ready-to-drink coffee. Starbucks plans to enter the category in the chilled segment.
In Japan, Starbucks has entered into an agreement with Suntory Ltd., one of the leading Japanese producers and distributors of food and beverages, for the manufacture and distribution of coffee ready-to-drink products in Japan. Starbucks Coffee Japan, Ltd., which has operated Starbucks stores in Japan since 1996, will provide ongoing consulting support including local brand and marketing expertise for the Japanese market. This support complements Starbucks coffee expertise and experience in the ready-to-drink coffee category in the United States and Canada.
In Taiwan, Starbucks has entered into a distribution agreement with President Starbucks Coffee Taiwan Limited, the Company's joint venture partner in Taiwan, for marketing and distribution of the new product. The product for Taiwan will be manufactured by Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, one of the largest food and beverage companies in the country.
"Extending the Starbucks brand into new distribution channels is part of our long-term growth plans," says Gerry Lopez, president, Starbucks global consumer products. "The success we have had bringing bottled Starbucks Frappuccino coffee drink and Starbucks DoubleShot espresso drink to consumers in channels outside of our retail stores in the United States and Canada demonstrates our potential worldwide. Our decision to take this first step to expand into the consumer products channel in Asia is a result of strong worldwide acceptance of the Starbucks brand as part of people's daily lives."