Vietnamese F&B brands “take the bell to the foreign land”: Trung Nguyên aspires to open 1,000 stores in China, Cong Ca Phe resiliently expands in South Korea, Malaysia, Canada.

In 2023, there is cause for celebration as many Vietnamese brands, big and small, confidently step foot into new markets, primarily operating in the coffee industry.


For over two decades, Vietnam has become an attractive and potential investment destination with many international F&B brands. It is not difficult to list the global brands that have been and are expanding in Vietnam, such as Starbucks, %Arabica Vietnam, McDonald’s, KFC, etc. Meanwhile, Vietnam is also famous for its rich culinary culture, which is appreciated by many international visitors, with coffee, bread, pho, etc. However, the journey abroad for Vietnamese F&B brands is still not an easy one.

Nevertheless, 2023 marks a positive sign as many Vietnamese brands confidently step foot in new markets, primarily in the coffee industry.

Most notably, the opening of Trung Nguyen’s World Coffee Legend store in Shanghai is a new milestone for the Trung Nguyen Group in the Chinese market. Prior to that, this neighboring country has been a familiar export market for the group but only limited to instant and packaged coffee products.

After about 6 months of presence in Shanghai, Trung Nguyen’s World Coffee Legend store has ranked Top 1 in the “Must Try” category – a must-try coffee shop in Shanghai; Top 1 hottest coffee shop on the Dazhongdianpin app (the No. 1 app in China for reviewing services and dining locations) on the Southwest Kowloon Road. At the end of 2022, the World Coffee Trung Nguyen Legend won 2 prestigious awards in the Chinese market, namely “Best Coffee Shop of 2022” and “Famous Coffee Shop of the Year”.

In July 2023, one year after the first “ring the bell to fight the foreign land” campaign, Trung Nguyen’s second store was opened at One East Mall, No. 788, Zhongshan South Road, Shanghai.

The spacious spaces of Trung Nguyen in your country are not only a place to enjoy coffee but also introduce coffee appreciation styles from around the world, while promoting Vietnamese culture. This World Coffee Trung Nguyen Legend model also sells typical dishes such as beef noodle soup, bread, shrimp and meat spring rolls, rolls, etc.

It is known that this is just the first step in Trung Nguyen’s plan to expand to 1,000 stores in China through franchising.

Another notable case is Chi Pu. After participating in some successful entertainment activities in China, Chi Pu ventured into F&B business in the populous market. In October 2023, Chi Pu opened the La Ganh pho restaurant after only 4 months of preparation, selling bowls of pho that are introduced as Northern-style pho, priced at about VND 300,000 per bowl. Thanks to a large number of fans after the program “Tỷ tỷ đạp gió rẽ sóng”, her pho restaurant has also been well received, with many people queuing up to eat. Taking advantage of this success, Chi Pu hinted at the second location of La Ganh and revealed plans to open more stores in China.

In 2023, Cộng Cà Phê opened its first store in Toronto (Canada), marking its third international market. Just at the beginning of 2024, the chain also opened another branch in South Korea, increasing its network of stores in the land of kimchi to 17. Currently, Cong Ca Phe has a total of 21 stores outside of Vietnam.

In 2023, Coffilia also explored new territories in the Gulf region, which are still quite unfamiliar to Vietnamese people but also promise many potentials. The first overseas store of Coffilia officially welcomed guests in October 2023, located on the ground floor of Al-Kout Beach Hotel in Ahmadi province. This is also the first Vietnamese brand to enter Kuwait. The Coffilia store at Al-Kout Beach Hotel was opened at a time when more and more Kuwaiti people are choosing Vietnam as their new tourist destination, so it is expected to contribute to attracting potential tourists to the Gulf market to learn more about Vietnam and its people.

In Vietnam, Coffilia is not a prominent name in the F&B industry, but it has been born by the support of the Minh Tien Coffee Group – a company specializing in exporting high-quality arabica coffee.

In addition, the Phở’S and Phuc Tea brands have signed franchise agreements with partners in the Philippines in October 2023. If Phở’S uses traditional flavors, this is the first model in Vietnam to use ginseng to cook pho. Meanwhile, Phuc Tea, besides using special Vietnamese tea flavors for blending, this unit also transforms many agricultural products into trendy drinks. The franchise fee in the foreign market ranges from $7,000 to $10,000 for a store (depending on the scale). These two companies said they would start opening their first franchise stores with partners in the first quarter of 2024. Besides the Philippines market, the companies said they are in the process of negotiating franchise cooperation in Indonesia, Malaysia.

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