Chinese start-up, Luckin Coffee aims to overtake Starbucks to become the country's most popular coffee chain store by the end of 2019.
Overly-ambitious Luckin plans to open 2,500 new stores in 2019, with total stores topping 4,500 by the end of this year, said Luckin Coffee founder and CEO Qian Zhiya. Presently, Luckin has more than 1,700 stores with nearly 300 in Beijing and 250 in Shanghai.
Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks has long dominated China's coffee landscape, with over 3,600 outlets in the country.
Luckin Coffee started trial operation in January 2018 selling coffee at brick-and-mortar stores while also delivering online orders. It posted a meteoric expansion thanks to its discounts and convenient services, opening 2,073 chain stores in 22 cities across the country by the end of 2018, with nearly 90 million cups of coffee sold.
The start-up has also successfully raised its Series B round of financing worth US$200 million in late-2018. Qian is upbeat on the growth prospects of China's coffee market, as per capita consumption (4 cups) is still very low compared to neighbouring Japan or Korea (200 cups).
Luckin plans to invest Rmb 1 billion (US$145.1 million) in brand promotion and marketing, and it hopes to distinguish itself through delivery service, social marketing, aggressive discounting and huge advertising.