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Companies

China's Luckin Coffee forms JV with Middle Eastern partner

Starbucks challenger also wants to open stores in India

A barista delivers a coffee to a customer at a Luckin Coffee store in Beijing, China.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Chinese coffee chain Luckin, which raised $510 million in a Nasdaq listing in May, has teamed up with a Middle Eastern partner to launch the business beyond China. 

The chain will establish a joint venture with Americana Group, an integrated food company that runs 1900 restaurants in mostly the Middle East, including United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt in North Africa, according to a company news release on Monday. The two companies will explore businesses in the Middle East and India.

Luckin opened more than 2,000 stores across China in two years and is seen as a fierce competitor to Starbucks in the country. This new partnership will mean both companies will be competing outside China for the first time.

"This collaboration represents Luckin Coffee's first step toward bringing its leading products from China to the world," founder and CEO Jenny Qian Zhiya said in the statement. "We look forward to further expanding the freshly brewed coffee market internationally as we realize the incredible growth opportunities available to us through our innovative business model."

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing earlier in a ceremony attended by government officials from both sides.

Luckin plans to double the size of its store network this year in a bid to dethrone Starbucks as China's largest coffee chain, Nikkei reported earlier. The company also said it would continue to offer discounts to keep prices low. Last year, Luckin recorded a $241 million net loss on revenue of $125 million.

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