Japanese coffee brand ‘% Arabica’ has landed in Korea. Percent Korea (CEO Nam-Jun Lee), established in January last year for the Korean business, opened the first store in Korea at Starfield COEX on the 11th.
It started as a sole proprietorship with the intention of expanding the domestic distribution network in the future rather than going directly into the market. Percent Korea plans to focus on recruiting professional baristas and other talents to develop domestic sales.
At the Percent Arabica Starfield COEX branch that the reporter visited, there was a continuous line to buy coffee even though it was morning hours on the 14th. Even though the price was not cheap, I could see that there were a lot of people to taste ‘Nung Coffee’.
The actual price of Eung Coffee’s cafe latte is 6,500 won based on 355ml. It is 1,000 won more expensive than Starbucks’ cafe latte price of 5,500 won. Nevertheless, it is known as a holy place for latte maniacs because of the variety of lattes, including Kyoto latte, Spanish latte, and matcha latte.
‘Starbuck’ counterfire (?) Ng coffee, Japanese brand impression should be maintained
Percent Arabica Coffee is starting to make a name for itself as a famous local coffee that you must try when traveling in Japan. Based on its popularity in Japan, it operates 125 stores in 18 countries around the world.
In some areas, domestic coffee brands are saturated and Starbucks has dominated the huge market, so they question what kind of competitiveness Nung Coffee can provide in the Korean market.
This is because consumers’ coffee choices are effectively divided into ‘Starbucks vs. low-cost brands’, and when foreign coffee brands come to Korea, there are many cases where consumers quickly turn away from the localized coffee taste.
Blue Bottle, an American coffee brand, is a prime example. After opening the first store in Seongsu-dong, Seoul, it advanced to Apgujeong, but it could not avoid criticism that it had lost its unique taste and felt in the United States. Starbucks Korea has also been controversial in that it has lost all its shares in the US and Shinsegae has 100% ownership, losing the feeling of the mainland in terms of taste and service.
A coffee industry official said, “As it was taken over by the so-called ‘Nung (%) coffee’, it did not follow Starbucks, which changed its appearance when it first came into Korea, and does not follow Starbucks, but maintains its own brand identity and maintains its own brand identity in the domestic market for a long period of time. Consumers want their name to be known in the market,” he predicted.
/ Fortune Korea Reporter Hong Seung-hae [email protected]