While visiting Shanghai, last week, my requirement for a morning caffeine fix was satisfied by Luckin Coffee in the vibrant Jing’an district. The discounts were generous, and purchasing was quick, easy & cashless.

It is clear that the battle for China’s coffee culture is getting interesting. Though unprofitable due to rapid expansion, Luckin is now a serious competitor to Starbucks.

Luckin Coffee is positioned for the masses, has growing brand awareness, driven by the initial public offering and its more than 2000 outlets. Moreover, the newcomer may benefit from a shift in consumer sentiment, away from American brands, as a result of the trade war.

The point here is that a two years old business is taking on an established company that has been operating in China for twenty years.

And, this trend is playing out across other industry verticals, where agile and youthful Chinese businesses are now competing with or outperforming multinational corporations.

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