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Howard Schultz talks about building Starbucks Coffee Co. one cup at a time, but the company chairman and chief executive has been pouring money by the bucket into the hot Pacific Rim.
Barely a year after its foray into the high-risk, high-profile Japanese market, Starbucks has assayed five more markets in the populous Pacific Rim. Asia represents an unslaked thirst for specialty coffee with far-reaching potential for the industry leader.
"We will have more stores in Asia than in America. Starbucks is still in the early stages of its growth," said Schultz, perched at a table inside the Pioneer Square Starbucks in Seattle.
He sat for an interview on a rain-soaked afternoon, between book signings for his recently published hardcover, "Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time."
Schultz reckons the company will build its next roasting plant - a big infrastructure investment signifying serious commitment - in Asia before 2000. By then, Starbucks aims to have at least 200 stores in Japan, Hawaii, Singapore, the Philippines,'Taiwan, Korea and other Far East markets.
Roasting in Asia
In Japan, Starbucks has 10 stores which are outperforming initial expectations, according …