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Starbucks to open stores in India this year


Starbucks plans to open stores in India for the first time under a deal announced on Monday with Tata Global Beverages, billed as the world's second-largest tea company.

Tata, part of steel-to-software conglomerate Tata Group, and Seattle-based Starbucks said they had entered into a 50:50 joint venture that will operate Starbucks cafes starting later this year.

"India is a unique market which gives us huge opportunities," Starbucks' China and Asia Pacific president John Culver told reporters.

The first outlets will open in New Delhi and Mumbai in August or September with plans for at least 50 cafes by the end of 2012.

Starbucks outlets are planned for shopping malls, airports, railway stations and other locations.

Starbucks has for years been eyeing the Indian market, where major US food giants including McDonald's, Domino's Pizza and Pizza Hut have already established a strong presence.

However it will face strong competition from established local coffee chains including Costa Coffee and Cafe Coffee Day.