Luckin Coffee said to be eyeing a Southeast Asian rollout

(Source: Bigstock)

Controversial Chinese cafe chain Luckin Coffee is finding opportunities in Southeast Asia, plotting its debut in the region two years after the US$340 million accounting scandal, according to DealStreetAsia. 

Earlier this month, the company was reported to start its recruitment process in Singapore across platforms including JobStreet and MyCareersFuture and LinkedIn. DealStreetAsia also reported Luckin Coffee entered into talks with new franchise partners in Thailand last year, eyeing expanding in several cities outside Bangkok and Phuket. 

The expansion detail has not yet been disclosed however the chain is likely to initially target markets popular among Chinese tourists, such as Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. 

The Southeast Asia launch, if it happens, will mark the chain’s second attempt at international expansion after India and the Middle East / North Africa. The chain will compete directly with existing leading coffee players such as Starbucks, Kopi Kenangan, and Flash Coffee. 

The five-year-old business almost collapsed in 2020 and was delisted from Nasdaq after it was discovered about US$337.31 million in 2019 sales were fabricated. Since then, a raft of senior management changes and a restructuring of its financial indebtedness in the US have positioned it for sustainable growth and profitability.

Last October, Luckin Coffee’s former executives, Jenny Qian and Charles Lu, launched a new coffee venture dubbed Cotti, opening the first store in Fuzhou. Lu left Luckin Coffee after the fabricated sales scandal. 

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