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Netopia reinvents Internet café with Vietnam’s Highlands Coffee

Netopia, the country’s largest chain of Internet cafés, is re-launching its business as ‘lifestyle hubs’ over two years with a little help from Vietnam’s Highlands Coffee.   “Within two years, Vietnam’s Highlands Coffee will be in every Netopia shop nationwide,” Michael Lacy, president of Digital Paradise Inc. (DPI) told GMA News Online in a telephone interview.   “The main thrust of DPI this year is to re-launch Netopia by having a new logo, new style, adding new equipment and totally remodeling its structure to be a lifestyle hub,” said Lacy, whose company operates DPI.   For five years, DPI owned the main franchise license to Highlands Coffee–“the Starbucks of Vietnam.”   “This is the first time that Highlands Coffee ventured outside Vietnam. We chose the Philippines because it has a close Asian tie with Vietnam. Our coffee is suited with the Filipino taste buds,” he claimed.    To have a taste of the Netopia’s lifestyle hub, Lacy said, “One cup of coffee bought from Highlands coffee will enable a customer to have a free 30-minute use of Netopia’s ultra-high speed Internet.”   What sets Highlands Coffee apart from the competition–like Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Seattle’s Best, and Le Figaro–is value for money, the DPI executive  claimed. “It is the same quality with other coffee shops but it costs less. It is about having more value for your money.”   The Vietnamese coffee chain will set up kiosks in Netopia shops, as well as have it own signature stores. Four Highlands Coffee stores are now under construction, and will be rolled out within the year, according to DPI.   Still, Lacy noted the coffee chain’s main market stays with Netopia.   “That is the benefit of partnering with Netopia, we can talk to lot of customers. The Internet users’ biggest demand is coffee which Highlands will provide,” he said.   Last January, DPI secured a P200-million loan with Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation to roll out its restructuring plan this year. —VS, GMA News