How China’s very own Starbucks went bust
Luckin Coffee, once hailed as China’s homegrown rival to Starbucks, has found itself in seriously hot water.  The chain was forced to file for bankruptcy earlier last month amid claims it engaged in the phenomenon of “adding water.”  The term “adding water,” or jia shuifen, harkens to a practice of manipulating accounting statistics to create false narratives. In Luckin’s case, it involved the alleged fabrication of more than US$340million in revenue to give investors the impression it was experiencing miraculous growth.  It is an ignoble end to a company that grew at record-breaking speed and - if only for a brief period - represented the global ambitions of many homegrown Chinese brands.
Starbucks’ Chinese rival files for US IPO
Starbucks’ Chinese challenger Luckin Coffee has filed for a US initial public offering, with an ambitious plan to displace the American giant as the largest coffee chain in China. The final size of the IPO was not announced in a Monday regulatory filing. The loss-making company was valued at $2.9 billion in an earlier funding round this month. An expanding, 400-million-strong middle class and a growing coffee culture have made China a sweet spot for global coffee chains. And with the fund raised in the expected stock offering, Luckin Coffee looks set to intensify an already fierce race for the wallets of Chinese drinkers. Founded in 2017, Luckin Coffee has expanded at breakneck speed to bec
No, coffee doesn’t cause cancer, says Chinese state media
The news was natural fodder for reductive, hyperbolic headlines. On Wednesday, a California court ruled on a lawsuit brought by a little-known group called the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, forcing all coffee shops in the state to warn their customers of the potential cancer risks of drinking coffee. The World Health Organization’s cancer researchers say you shouldn’t worry (read their 2016 paper here), but in China, posts blaring the bad – and inflammatory – news along the lines of “STARBUCKS CAUSES CANCER” and “STARBUCKS SCANDAL” flooded social media. That unscrupulous headline writers misled readers for clicks isn’t shocking, but for a country where “food is heaven” and y