Investors may worry that the trade war will wreak havoc on Starbucks Corp.’s prospects in China, its second-largest market. The real concern isn’t any kind of patriotic boycott but competition from a homegrown challenger.
Luckin Coffee, which officially launched in January, already has more than 1,500 stores in 21 cities across China. Starbucks, whose mainland adventure began in 1999, has more than 3,400 outlets in 140 cities. Both are racing to expand further: Luckin is aiming for 2,000 stores by year end; Starbucks is planning 6,000 by 2022.