(Yicai Global) Jan. 8 -- Luckin Coffee is entering the unmanned retail market with the launch of its 'luckin coffee EXPRESS' smart unmanned coffee machine and 'luckin pop MINI' smart vending machine, the company announced at a strategy press conference in Beijing yesterday.
The Beijing-based upstart contender against global players Starbucks and Costa also stated that the number of its self-operated stores had reached 4,507 by the end of last year, which the company claimed makes it China's largest coffee chain by outlets.
It has over 40 million customers, it also said.
The firm's shares [NASDAQ:LK] rose 1.98 percent to USD35.11 yesterday.
By working closely with global suppliers and significantly reducing channel costs, Luckin Pop MINI terminals will enable the firm's customers to enjoy the convenience of vending machines and low e-commerce prices at the same time, Qian Zhiya, the company's chief executive, said in a statement.
Global suppliers to the coffee giant -- PepsiCo, Nestle, Fonterra, Yili Group, China Mengniu Dairy and nine others -- participated in the ceremony launching the company's unstaffed retail model.
Editor: Ben Armour