Starbucks eyes global growth but Aust lags

Starbucks is on an international tear, although Australia remains a difficult market to crack.

After building itself into the world's largest coffee-shop chain through decades of high-octane growth in the United States, it's now focusing more on global business.

There's plenty of room for growth. Starbucks' domestic-international breakdown is lopsided, with nearly 11,000 stores in the US and fewer than 7000 in other countries.

Now the chain said it plans to open 1200 stores in the next fiscal year, which begins in October - about three shops a day. Fewer than half of those will be in the United States.

About 500 of the new stores will open in Asia - more than half in China.

"We're in the early stages of growth in Asia," said John Culver, president of Starbucks' China and Asia Pacific region.

"It represents the fastest and largest retail growth opportunity in the company's foreseeable future."

Here's a look at Starbucks' footprint around the world:

Australia: Australians love coffee and coffee shops. But Starbucks started pulling out several years ago, and now has only 22 locations in Australia, down from 84 in 2008.

Brazil: The world's largest coffee-producing country has only 45 Starbucks stores, but it is one of several countries targeted for major growth. In Brazil, Starbucks sells a chocolate sweet called brigadeiro, as well as brigadeiro-flavoured Frappuccinos and the Brasil Blend, a coffee with medium body, soft acidity and chocolate notes.

Canada: Starbucks' first international store opened in Vancouver in March 1987, just months before CEO Howard Schultz and investors bought a small chain called Starbucks from its founders. The brand remains popular in Canada, where its 1161 stores make that country Starbucks' largest international market.

China: The chain plans to more than double locations in China to 1500 by mid-2015. Long a worldwide status symbol, Starbucks inspires some customers in China to carry their coffee cups with the mermaid intentionally facing out. Cherry blossom lattes, black sesame green tea Frappuccinos and iced dumplings are seasonal offerings on Starbucks' menu in China.

Egypt, Morocco, Rwanda: Although Starbucks buys coffee from Africa, it has few cafes on the continent - 21 in Egypt and three in Morocco. Rwandan President Paul Kagame, whose country has grown some of Starbucks' most prized coffee beans, told a Starbucks shareholders' meeting in 2007 that he'd like a Starbucks store in his country. A couple of years later, Starbucks opened a farmer-support centre there, and last year added one in Tanzania.

France: Starbucks has never turned a profit in France, one reason the chain's business in Europe lags the rest of the world.

India: After five years of delays, Starbucks finally will open in India this fall, in partnership with Tata, a conglomerate that markets everything from coffee to cars. The first stores are planned in Mumbai and New Delhi. The idea of coffee as an affordable luxury has already caught on in India, whose population of 1.2 billion people is just behind China's 1.3 billion.

Japan: In 1996, Japan became Starbucks' first market outside North America - and the first time high-end coffee was tested in a mostly tea-drinking culture. The concept caught on, and in 2013 Starbucks will open its 1000th store in Japan.

Russia: The first stores opened in 2007 after years of legal wrangling with a Moscow lawyer who claimed rights to its trademark. Starbucks now has 56 stores in Russia.

South Korea: Another significant market for Starbucks, it has 442 cafes, with plans to reach 700 in the next five years. Space can be tight in Seoul, so Starbucks got creative when a five-story retail spot became available and now is the world's tallest Starbucks.

Taiwan: Sometimes the smallest markets come up with big hits. Starbucks' Taiwan business, which has just 271 coffee shops, developed the green tea lattes and Frappuccinos that are now popular around the world.

United Kingdom: Also part of the overall European overhaul, Starbucks' 752 stores in the UK recently added an extra shot of espresso to their 12-ounce lattes.

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