SEOUL - It's just after 9 p.m. and there's a long line snaking through the world's largest Starbucks cafe, a 200-seat, five-story glass skyscraper in Seoul's trendy Myongdong shopping district.
Clerks dressed in black polo shirts and green aprons greet each customer with a cheery "Yoboseyo!," the Korean word used to get someone's attention. Then they crank up the espresso machines and call out the orders in English.
No one waits long. In Korea, the customer is king, and it takes just a minute or two to get served. Three dollars buys a tall latte and a front-row seat in a neighborhood where the shopping, eating and music go on all night.
With 363 stores in 10 Asian countries, Starbucks is growing its Asian business rapidly. An announcement this week that the Seattle-based chain has converted its licensing agreement with Shinsegae Department Store into a joint-venture partnership signaled...