Starbucks to open first outlet in Vietnam in early February

A sign is seen outside a Starbucks Coffee shop in central London December 3, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp SBUX.O said it will set up its first outlet in Vietnam early next month as the U.S. chain continues to expand in fast-growing Asian markets.

Starbucks said it will partner with Hong Kong’s Maxim’s Group to open its first store in Ho Chi Minh City and reiterated that Asia continues to be a significant growth driver for the company.

“Vietnam is one of the most dynamic and exciting markets in the world and we are proud to add Vietnam as the 12th market across the China and Asia-Pacific region,” said John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific.

Starbucks already buys some of the highest-quality arabica coffee from Vietnam and said it is committed to sourcing more from the region in the long-run.

Vietnam is the second-biggest coffee producer in the world after Brazil.

Starbucks operates more than 3,300 stores across 11 countries in the China and Asia-Pacific region.

Through its licensed partner, Coffee Concepts (Hong Kong) Ltd, a unit of Hong Kong’s Maxim’s Group, Starbucks operates more than 130 stores in Hong Kong and Macau. Last year, Starbucks opened its first store in India.

Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore and Ho Binh Minh in Hanoi; Editing by Matt Driskill