Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Starbucks Korea Test Market for New Product

Korea hopes to prove itself to be a test bed for the global take-out coffee industry. [It's also seen as a great test market for high tech].

Starbucks Coffee Korea announced yesterday that its proposal to add green tea-flavored latte to the coffee giant's menu was approved by Starbucks Corp. to debut in other markets.

Based on the consumer response of Green Tea Latte here in Korea, it has been agreed that the product would be launched in other Starbucks chains in Asia and parts of the United States by the second half of this year, said S.K. Chang, president of Starbucks Coffee Korea.

The local chain's idea to create a green tea version of the latte was incited by the popularity of green tea in Korea, he emphasized.

Korea Herald notes that Korea has become a test bed for global coffee chain Starbucks Corp. with the Green Tea Latte expected to debut in other markets.

Noting that Korea has been a hot test bed for global information-technology companies seeking to size up the success potential of new products, Chang said the country has proven itself to do the same for the global specialty coffee market.

One reason Korea is an ideal test bed for Starbucks is that Asia's fourth-largest economy globally ranks fifth in number of stores and revenue outside of the United States, after Japan, the United Kingdom, China and Taiwan, the company said. Korea has 145 stores nationwide. [I frequent many on my trips to Seoul].

Another is that the country has a high proportion of young consumers who are sensitive to trends, and can therefore help industries gain insight into the potential risks and success of products and services.

Starbucks Coffee Korea said the recipe of the Green Tea Latte would be the same for all markets.

Taiwan had earlier proposed launching the Green Tea Frappuccino. But its market reached a peak and has lost its effectiveness in acting as a test bed for new products, according to Starbucks Coffee Korea.

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