It’s ‘Luckin’ good as Chinese Starbucks challenger sees valuation double with another US$200 million

Chinese coffee chain operator Luckin Coffee has raised US$200 million in its latest funding round, doubling the valuation of the Starbucks challenger in just five months.

The B round of fundraising was led by its existing investors including Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, China International Capital Corporation, Joy Capital and Centrium Capital, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The latest investment follows a July A round when Luckin raised US$200 million at a valuation of US$1 billion, bringing the Xiamen-based start-up unicorn status in the six months since a soft launch.

Luckin has expanded to over 1,700 stores in 21 major cities across China and claims “thorough” coverage of downtown Beijing and Shanghai, where there’s basically a store within a five-minute walk for everyone, it said.

“We will continue to increase capital investment in product research, technology innovation and business development, and continue to optimise our product and user experience,” Qian Zhiya, Luckin chief executive said.

The start-up promises an average customer in major cities that they need only wait about 18 minutes after placing a delivery order through their phone to receive their coffee, Qian said in a July interview. Such orders would be fulfilled by “takeaway kitchens” where coffee is prepared exclusively for on-demand service.

In August, Starbucks Corp unveiled a tie-up with Alibaba Group’s Chinese food delivery platform Ele.me, in a move to battle competition from local challengers. Before the deal, the Seattle-based giant had no formal online delivery service in China.

Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.

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