Market Overview

Starbucks Faces Yet Another Competitor In China: WeWork

Starbucks Faces Yet Another Competitor In China: WeWork

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX)'s aggressive Chinese expansion plans have been hit with some unexpected competition.

Luckin Coffee, a Chinese coffee chain founded in 2017, has taken direct aim at Starbucks and has opened  2,000 stores in China alone. The company said it plans to open 4,500 by the end of 2019 and will focus on coffee delivery to compete with the Seattle coffee giant. 

KeyBanc analyst Eric Gonzalez said last week that competition from Luckin Coffee has become a front-and-center focus for Starbucks. Now the company may have even more competition from a more familiar name: WeWork.

The Co-Work, Coffee Nexis 

The co-working space operator has launched WeWork Go, a feature that allows Chinese users to rent a desk by the minute. While Starbucks provides free accommodation and charges for coffee In doing so, TechCrunch writer Rita Liao said WeWork "flips the equation to offer free coffee and paid space.”

WeWork Go said it's acquired 50,000 registered users after a three-month pilot test across 18 locations in Shanghai.

Dominic Penaloza, head of innovation and technology at WeWork China, told TechCrunch that WeWork Go could be competing with coffee shops by offering an alternative type of third space for freelancers, mobile workers and business travelers.

Early users of WeWork Go told TechCrunch they found the service delivers a “quieter” and “more comfortable” vibe than most cafes.

A Workplace For Many 

With Starbucks' business becoming almost as much of a location for freelancers as it is a coffee retailer as the prevalence of remote workers continues to rise, WeWork Go’s experiment to flip the coffee and working space equation presents another possible roadblock to Starbucks' worldwide dominance.

Starbucks shares were up 1.66 percent at $68.15 at the close Wednesday. 

Related Links:

Starbucks Analysts Have Lukewarm Reaction To China, Delivery Plans

Analysts React To Starbucks' Brewing Q4 Success

Photo courtesy of WeWork. 

Posted-In: Eric Gonzalez KeyBanc Capital MarketsNews Emerging Markets Restaurants Markets Media General Best of Benzinga


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