Starbucks will open its first coffee shop in Myanmar at the Sule Square Mall in downtown Yangon.
The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) officially endorsed the service provider Coffee Concepts Myanmar Limited (CCM) to be the sole operator for catering and sales of Starbucks food and beverages; sales of Starbucks brand products, and the operation of Starbucks stores, at its meeting in Yangon on May 12. CCM was registered with the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration in December 2017.
Starbucks has been eyeing investment in Myanmar since 2013. In May 2013, former CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz (he stepped down to executive chairman in April 2017) told reporters in Bangkok that Myanmar was a country that the company had targeted for expansion.
A spokesman from Starbucks Coffee Myanmar said that following Sule Square, the company expects to expand to up to 10 places within 18 months of the initial opening.
U Ye Myint, the chairman of the Myanmar Coffee Association, said the group welcomes the Starbucks franchise and hopes it will help boost coffee culture in the country and benefit coffee farmers.
Starbucks, which was founded in 1971, has opened some 28,000 stores in 77 markets around the world, including locations in Asia in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
U Ye Myint said he hopes the US-based coffee chain will bring opportunity to Myanmar coffee farmers as it spreads around the country.
“It will also help boost tourism if Starbucks opens in tourist cities,” he said.
“We could also introduce our Myanmar brands to Starbucks. We hope for a positive impact and job opportunities for locals as coffee plantations expand in the future,” he told The Irrawaddy.
The Starbucks Coffee Myanmar spokesman added that the company was excited to bring its high-quality products to Myanmar, but that it would like to work with other local brands as well.
Starbucks has opened nine farmer support centers to improve quality of profitability of farmers in its supply chain. It opened one in North Sumatra, Indonesia in 2015.