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Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks to face off in Vietnam

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dunkin' Donuts is about to face off with Starbucks in Vietnam.

The parent company of the chain, Dunkin' Brands Group Inc., said Wednesday that it signed a franchise deal to develop the brand in the coffee-loving country, with the first locations planned for Ho Chi Minh City area. The announcement comes just weeks after Starbucks announced plans to open its first cafe in the country.

The deal with Vietnam Food and Beverage Co. includes plans to open an unspecified number of locations over the next several years. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

U.S. chains are increasingly turning to the broader Asian region for growth. Starbucks, for example, has said that China is expected to surpass Canada to become its second biggest market after the U.S. within the next couple years.

Vietnam already has an established coffee market; at least two popular homegrown chains have dozens of locations nationwide and family-run sidewalk cafes dot the streets and alleys of larger Vietnamese cities.

Dunkin' Brands also said it signed five new franchise agreements to open another 249 locations Baskin Robbins over the next decade. There are currently about 90 Baskin-Robbins in China.

Globally, there are about 7,000 Baskin-Robbins locations in 50 countries and 10,000 Dunkin' Donuts locations in 32 countries.

Shares of Dunkin' Brands, based in Canton, Mass., added 42 cents to $36.40 in morning trading.