Starbucks Announces Major Expansion Plans Across Asia Pacific

It's no secret that Starbucks is growing at a rate that's not measured merely in pink drinks or Pumpkin Spice lattes. In 2022, World Coffee Portal reported on the coffee chain's Annual Meeting of Shareholders, where the company's focus was growing the number of locations and markets, then figured at more than 34,000 and calculated at roughly 80. In that meeting, Starbucks announced its plans to open 55,000 stores by 2030, spreading out over 100 different countries globally.

On February 15, 2023, Starbucks marked a big milestone in these plans, celebrating the opening of its 5,000th location in its Asia Pacific market — a drive-thru in Gwangyang-si, South Korea. In addition to serving coffee seekers at the drive-thru, the two-story building also offers cozy spaces indoors with art that celebrates the local community. One café may not seem like much, but it's just a single step in Starbucks' much larger vision for the Asia Pacific region as a whole.

Starbucks plans to add 400 Asia Pacific locations in 2023

Although the coffee chain plans significant growth in the Asia Pacific region, CNN points out that Starbucks locations in both China and Japan are managed separately from the rest. In India, Starbucks is targeting expansion into at least five new cities, and it also plans to open new stores outside metropolitan areas in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, and the Philippines.

All told, Starbucks plans to add 400 new locations over the course of 2023, 100 of which will be drive-thrus — an attempt to make the company's food and beverages a convenient option for customers searching for caffeine on the go. For discerning coffee drinkers in search of higher-end options, the Asia Pacific market will see the addition of new Starbucks Reserve locations, where extraordinary coffee experiences are curated and exclusive beverages are created by Certified Coffee Masters. 

The company's decision to invest and build in the Asia Pacific region is a step forward in recovering from the pandemic and promotes "long-term growth and opportunities," according to Michael Conway, the president of international and channel development for Starbucks. He believes this, combined with the heightened popularity of coffee and the growth of the middle class, will be key to its expansion across the world.