A hand holding a luckin coffee cup.
  • Luckin coffee was founded in China in 2017.
  • Starbucks, founded in 1971, is the worlds largest coffee house chain with over 35,000 stores globally.
  • In January 1999, Starbucks opened its first store in Beijing, China.

Chinese coffee giant Luckin Coffee has surpassed Starbucks as the largest coffee chain brand in  the country. In June, Lucking Coffee hit 10,000 stores while Starbucks operated 6,480 stores at the end of the second quarter in mainland China.

China has a tea-drinking tradition, which is being challenged by the steady rise in coffee sales over the last few years, driven mostly by younger professionals in urban areas.

Luckin coffee now has more stores in China than Starbucks

In the quarter ending June 30, Lucking Coffee opened 1,485 new stores which is an aggressive store expansion compared to Starbucks which sell their coffee at a premium and do not franchise their operations as some of the Luckin Coffee stores are partner-operated.

Luckin has taken a different approach, aiming for the mass market with $2-priced drinks  which has differentiated itself from Starbucks while also operating a grab-and-go model making it easier for them to open new stores.

Luckin is attempting a comeback after it was delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange in June 2020 following an accounting scandal with investigations revealing that the then COO Jian Lui fabricated  sales by about 2.2 billion yuan ($314 million) for much of 2019.

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