Homegrown coffee brand Luckin Coffee plans to one day have more cafes in China than Starbucks, said founder Qian Zhiya.
The 42-year-old told Reuters that her company is on a major expansion plan to attract as many customers as possible, with backing by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and other investors.
“I don’t have a timeline for profit, she said. “For us, what we care about now is the number of users and if they are coming back to us, whether they recognize us, whether we can take market share.”
“In the future we will have more cafes than Starbucks,” she said.
Launched officially only in January, Luckin has opened more than 660 locations in 13 Chinese cities while focusing on online orders and delivery. More than half of Luckin’s stores are traditional cafes or pick-up outlets with some seating, and the rest are delivery kitchens.
Starbucks, on the other hand, has 3,400 stores in China and plans to almost double that by 2022.
Luckin also plans to compete with the Seattle coffee giant on price and speed. A regular latte from Luckin costs ¥24 plus ¥6 for delivery, with free delivery available for orders over ¥35. Orders are delivered in an average of 18 minutes, the company said, and prices are often slashed by half after promotions. In contrast, a latte at Starbucks costs ¥31.
Starbucks’ mainland dominance is not only threatened by the local upstart. Earlier this month, Canadian coffee shop chain Tim Hortons announced its plans to open over 1,500 restaurants in China in the next 10 years.