Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) cama café, one of the leading coffee chain operators in Taiwan, is planning to extend its reach out of the country and expand into Southeast Asia next year.
In a recent interview with CNA, cama Chairman Ho Ping-lin (何炳霖) said many foreign distributors have been approaching his chain in the past few years, expressing interest in taking the brand overseas.
After careful planning, Ho said, cama, which has set up more than 120 stores in its 13-year presence in Taiwan, plans to open its first overseas outlet in Southeast Asia in the first quarter next year.
"But cama will move in a prudent manner instead of a speedy expansion," Ho said. "We want to make our every step stable when we expand overseas."
He did not disclose which country cama will go to first, but said the chain is choosing its partner carefully.
Commenting on the Taiwan coffee market, Ho said production value here ranges between NT$70 billion (US$2.30 billion) and NT$80 billion a year. Compared with the mature markets in the United States and Japan, there is large room for the Taiwan market to grow, Ho said.
He added that cama is generating about NT$700 million in sales a year in Taiwan despite increasing competition in the market, where growing business opportunities are attracting many new competitors, including convenience store chains and even supermarket chains.
Ho said cama will continue to work hard for a larger share of the Taiwan market, even as it explores opportunities overseas.
As part of the brand's efforts to penetrate the local market, cama opened its first flagship store -- Cama Coffee Roasters -- in an 82-year old Japanese style house located in Yangminshan on Nov. 19, by working with the Taipei City Government to bring new life to an aging piece of architecture.
The flagship store had been under planning for two years with devotion by about 100 employees before it opened, Ho said. He added that it received a warm welcome from consumers.
The 600-ping (1,980-square meter) flagship store boasts a different business model which aims to boost the chain's image by providing premium coffee instead of low-cost coffee seen in many shops, including the existing cama stores, and street stalls around Taiwan, Ho said.
Meanwhile, in Cama Coffee Roasters, a barista team is setting up a classroom to help consumers develop a better understanding about coffee beans and how to roast them.
Ho said cama will look for venues to open more Cama Coffee Roasters in the future.
As for the other cama outlets, he said they are scheduled to provide meals from the middle of December, to boost buying.
Ho added that cama also has a plan to launch an initial public offering for the coffee shop chain next year.