By Diksha Madhok, CNN
New Delhi (CNN) — Starbucks plans to operate 1,000 stores in India by 2028, opening the equivalent of one new location every three days for the next four years, as demand for coffee burgeons in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
To achieve its target, the company will focus on opening coffee shops in smaller cities and also double its workforce in the country to 8,600, it said in a statement Tuesday.
Starbucks currently has 390 stores in India, where it has operated for over 11 years through a 50% joint venture with Tata Consumer Products, a unit of one of India’s best-known conglomerates. Its first location was Mumbai, where it opened a two-level store furnished with local furniture and decorated with images of the metropolis.
Apart from the usual range of lattes and Frappuccinos, Starbucks also offers beverages that it calls “Indian-inspired,” including South Indian filter coffee and masala chai, a blend of sweetened milky tea and spices.
While many Indians still begin their day with a steaming cup of chai, the appetite for coffee is growing, with both local and international chains proliferating across the country.
During a visit to India this week, Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan said India had become “one of Starbucks’ fastest-growing markets in the world.”
The South Asian nation, with its growing middle class, is becoming a key market for Western companies, especially at a time when China is grappling with a number of economic problems, including muted consumer demand.
However, despite the slowdown in China, the latter is still Starbucks’ largest and fastest-growing overseas market. The beverage giant aims to have 9,000 stores there by 2025, up from nearly 6,500 currently.
Last year, Starbucks poured more than $200 million into a new campus in the eastern part of China. At the time of opening in September, the company said it was the largest investment it had ever made for a coffee manufacturing and distribution center outside the United States.
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