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May 27, 2017

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Starbucks price hikes brew up storm

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Netizens were left spluttering into their skinny lattes Monday after coffee giant Starbucks announced a raft of price hikes.

The chain, operated in Taiwan by Uni-President, said it would raise the prices of 29 of its drinks, citing an increase in supply costs.

The price of Starbucks' Coffee of the Day is set to go up by NT$10, with lattes, teas and chocolate beverages seeing a NT$15 hike.

The price of Frappuccinos is set to increase by between NT$5 and NT$20, depending on flavor.

Following the announcement, it didn't take long for Taiwan's coffee addicts to hit the internet to voice their anger.

One user said that he or she would temporarily stop drinking Starbucks, and accused the company of taking advantage of customer loyalty with unreasonable price increases.

Another user asked that if the new prices really due to higher material costs, whether Starbucks would lower its prices when the same costs decreased.

Other comments took a more cynical tone, saying sarcastically that it was the "trendy thing" to increase prices.

Netizens took to comparing the prices of a Starbucks grande-sized latte sold in the two countries. While the latte was sold for 410 yen in Japan (roughly NT$111), the same-sized latte was sold for NT$120 in Taiwan.

Many asked why Starbucks was increasing its latte prices by NT$15 when the drink was already more expensive in Taiwan than in Japan.

The last time Starbucks raised its prices was back in October of 2011, which the company explained, was due to increases in dairy product and other material costs.

Back then, with the increase in costs of coffee beans, sugar, milk, and oil, the company raised prices on 30 of its beverages, with a NT$10 increases on beverages containing dairy and a NT$5 increase on beverages without.

In a bid to keep customers, Starbucks will offer free upgrades for four days, starting on the same day that its price hikes go into effect.

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