China's Luckin Coffee Debuts on the Nasdaq, Faces Off With Starbucks

May 17, 2019

By Amanda Weston

A coffee chain little-known in the U.S. is now breaking into American trading. Chinese company Luckin Coffee made its public debut on the Nasdaq Friday morning. Its stock opened at $25, 47 percent more than its earlier IPO price.

Many have compared Luckin ($LK) to American coffee giant Starbucks ($SBUX), citing competition between the two in China. Luckin does not have any locations in the U.S., but plans to expand in its home country.

Drew Bernstein, co-managing partner at Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk, discussed the differences between the two on Cheddar Friday.

"They use much smaller stores," Bernstein said. "Everything's automated, including payment. They don't take cash. They really cater to this 996 generation, you know, that being those people that work typically in the tech industry that are working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. They deliver. So there's a lot of unique aspects of the business plan."

Reinout Schakel, Luckin Coffee's CFO, told CNBC the company's founders "are used to using technology and disrupting industries."

Luckin's IPO comes amid trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and follows other IPOs that have not performed as well as hoped.

But Bernstein said it comes down to choice.

"Chinese companies now have a choice of where they want to go," Bernstein said. "Honestly, my opinion is the U.S. markets are still kind of the gold standard."

For full interview click here.