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Daily Drip

Luckin Coffee, “Starbucks-Killer”, Fabricated Nearly Half its 2019 Sales

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Unicorn start-up Luckin Coffee has run out of luck.

The company, which made headlines as a (sometimes self-styled) “Starbucks-killer”, has admitted to fabricating sales figures. Chief accused is Luckin’s COO Jian Liu, who reportedly worked with others to fabricate transactions that made up nearly half the chain’s sales in 2019.

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“The Special Committee recommended certain interim remedial measures, including the suspension of Mr. Jian Liu and such employees implicated in the misconduct and the suspension and termination of contracts and dealings with the parties involved in the identified fabricated transactions,” Luckin Coffee said in a statement.

After long speculation surrounding financial difficulties, the chain revealed on Thursday that a preliminary investigation had accounted for 2.2 billion RMB of transactions, as well as inflated costs and expenses. Shares plummeted over 84% after the announcement was made.

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The company, which had worked rapidly to open over 3,000 stores across China, went public in May and held a secondary stock offering in January.

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan