What happened: Chinese coffee chain startup Luckin has announced that it’s going to enter 18 more cities by the end of April this year, aiming for a total number 40 operating cities since its launch in January last year. The company just kicked off operations in Changzhou, Foshan, and Yangzhou in January. There are 15 more cities to open, most of which are second-tier cities.
Why it’s important: The one-year-old coffee chain startup is speeding up its store expansion this year in an ambitious goal to overtake Starbucks in China. Counting 22 cities in which Luckin opened outlets over last year, the Xiamen-based company expects to fulfill a majority of last year’s goal within only four months in 2019. Already taken first-tier cities, the competition among the two coffee chain rivals is expanding to second-and third-tier cities in China. The firm announced in early January the goal to open more than 2,500 new shops, thus pushing the total number of coffee shops of 4,500 by the end of the year. It’s important to note, however, that Luckin operates a variety of store types, including dark stores and pick-up only stores with smaller footprints than traditional coffee shops.