Coffee Wars: Luckin vs. Starbucks
A cup of Starbucks was a middle-class symbol in China. Since the opening of its first store in China in 1999, Starbucks had conquered the Chinese coffee market with its experience driven philosophy. Nonetheless, a few ambitious and well-funded Chinese tech entrepreneurs had decided to challenge Starbucks. Founded in October 2017, Luckin Coffee expressed a desire "to be part of everyone's life, starting with coffee." Leveraging its core competence in technology and a business model focused on delivery and heavy discounts, Luckin scaled up rapidly. By 2020 it operated more stores in China than Starbucks. But Starbucks was responding to the new threat, forging an alliance with Alibaba backed Ele.me. In this situation, what should both firms do to do to win the war for China's coffee consumer?