The logo of Luckin Coffee is seen on the window of a shop in Beijing. Luckin’s conceit was that it was going to have more stores in China than Starbucks – which it did – and that it was somehow going to transform coffee into a tech business, which it didn’t. Photo: Simon Song The logo of Luckin Coffee is seen on the window of a shop in Beijing. Luckin’s conceit was that it was going to have more stores in China than Starbucks – which it did – and that it was somehow going to transform coffee into a tech business, which it didn’t. Photo: Simon Song
The logo of Luckin Coffee is seen on the window of a shop in Beijing. Luckin’s conceit was that it was going to have more stores in China than Starbucks – which it did – and that it was somehow going to transform coffee into a tech business, which it didn’t. Photo: Simon Song
Robert Boxwell
Opinion

Opinion

Robert Boxwell

Luckin Coffee fraud is a cautionary tale for investors and US regulators

  • In an industry that has its fair share of naive investors and con artists, the improbability of Luckin’s claims and business model should have been easy to spot
  • Luckin’s fraud could not have come at a worse time for China’s honest businesspeople

The logo of Luckin Coffee is seen on the window of a shop in Beijing. Luckin’s conceit was that it was going to have more stores in China than Starbucks – which it did – and that it was somehow going to transform coffee into a tech business, which it didn’t. Photo: Simon Song The logo of Luckin Coffee is seen on the window of a shop in Beijing. Luckin’s conceit was that it was going to have more stores in China than Starbucks – which it did – and that it was somehow going to transform coffee into a tech business, which it didn’t. Photo: Simon Song
The logo of Luckin Coffee is seen on the window of a shop in Beijing. Luckin’s conceit was that it was going to have more stores in China than Starbucks – which it did – and that it was somehow going to transform coffee into a tech business, which it didn’t. Photo: Simon Song
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Robert Boxwell

Robert Boxwell

Robert Boxwell has worked and lived in the Asia-Pacific region since the early 1990s. He is an occasional contributor on business and regional issues to the South China Morning Post, Reuters, Financial Times and Bloomberg, and is writing a book on the history of US-China trade. He lives in Kuala Lumpur, where he is director of the international consultancy Opera Advisors. Find him on Twitter: @RobertBoxwellJr.