Luckin Coffee has Starbucks worried. The Xiamen-based upstart has opened 2,370 coffee shops across 28 Chinese cities since June 2017. And on Monday, it announced plans for a Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO) of around $17 a share—which, if successful, could value the company at $4 billion.
It’s a clear challenge to the Seattle-headquartered global king of coffee, which entered China two decades ago and last year held over half of the domestic market, according to Euromonitor. But Starbucks’ China sales grew just 1% in the last quarter of 2018, down from 8% growth the year before. Analysts point to China’s slackening growth in general for the slowdown, yet few dispel the specter of Luckin looming over the green siren’s shoulder.