(Yicai Global) March 2 -- Cotti Coffee, a new brand set up by Luckin Coffee founder Lu Zhengyao, also known as Charles Lu, recently said it has been expanding rapidly since it was formed last October and at one point opened 80 cafes in three days.
Cotti Coffee did not provide the exact number of its stores in the statement put out at the end of last month, but Chief Executive Officer Li Yingbo said in early February that the Tianjin-registered firm has about 1,300 stores in 181 Chinese cities.
Cotti Coffee was set up with a registered capital of USD100 million, and another Luckin Coffee co-founder and former CEO Qian Zhiya as its executive director. Lu and Qian left Luckin Coffee in 2020 following a scandal over faked revenues that forced the then-Nasdaq-listed business to file for bankruptcy.
Lu and Qian announced on their social media accounts the opening of the first Cotti Coffee store at the end of October, Qilu Evening News reported.
Cotti Coffee has trod a similar path to Luckin Coffee in terms of rapid expansion and business operation. Cotti Coffee stores are mostly near office buildings and seek to attract consumers with discounts and coupons and products selling for as little as CNY9.9 (USD1.44) a cup.
Cotti Coffee has also been spending huge sums on marketing. For example, it is a sponsor in China for Argentina’s national football team, as well as being the title sponsor for the 2022 Chengdu Marathon and strategic partner of the fashion brand Smiley.
Cotti Coffee also works with celebrities, key opinion leaders, and internet influencers on popular Chinese platforms such as Douyin and Xiaohongshu, said Li Yingbo, co-founder and chief marketing officer.
The company initiated the franchisee scheme ‘Coffee Dreamers’ a month after its first cafe opened. Lu has previously said on social media that Cotti Coffee aims to open 10,000 outlets in three years, according to media reports. As of the third quarter of last year, Luckin Coffee had 7,846 stores in China and Starbucks had 6,090.
Editor: Tom Litting