Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) announced today that it plans to launch ready-to-drink coffee beverages in the Japan and Taiwan markets. Although it's an interesting piece of corporate information for those of us who follow Starbucks, it seems quite likely it's only of passing interest to investors.

Although the Asia-Pacific region is an area of burgeoning promise, it's not like Starbucks is taking first-mover advantage when it comes to such ready-to-drink coffee products. Although Starbucks cited the $10 billion market for ready-to-drink beverages in Japan and Taiwan in its press announcement today, it faces plenty of rivalry to get its share of the pie, particularly in Japan.

Suntory, the company that Starbucks is partnering with to distribute the new chilled, premium coffee drink in Japan, happens to already distribute coffee drinks, specifically Boss Coffee. (My source for info on the Japanese consumer market said that such ready-to-drink coffees are quite common in Japan -- in that country, such beverages like coffee and tea can be bought in convenience stores cold or hot, which is, of course, quite a nifty idea).

Such formidable rivals as Motley Fool Inside Value selection Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) already provide similar beverages in Asia as well. Take, for example, Coke's Georgia Coffee, which can be served cold, hot, or at room temperature. Coke claims on its Web site that Georgia is the best-selling noncarbonated drink in Japan.

Although Starbucks investors surely appreciate the company's attempts to increase the channels through which its world-class brand travels, the opportunity is decreased by the prevalence of other powerful giants that are already involved in the ready-to-drink category. Those who are craving something a little more substantial out of Starbucks may have to wait and see what tomorrow's same-store sales figures hold.

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Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.