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瑞幸咖啡成功赴美上市,燒錢模式能否持續?

Luckin Coffee, Chinese Rival to Starbucks, Jumps in Its U.S. Trading Debut
瑞幸咖啡成功赴美上市,燒錢模式能否持續?

SHANGHAI — Here’s one way to compete with Starbucks in coffee: Pay your customers.

上海——要想在咖啡上與星巴克(Starbucks)競爭,這里有一個辦法:付錢給顧客。

Luckin Coffee, an unprofitable start-up offering big giveaways and aggressive subsidies, burst less than two years ago into a Chinese coffee scene long dominated by Starbucks. Helped by a smartphone app that lets users order coffee for delivery with a few finger taps, it has gained nearly 17 million customers and built 2,370 stores.

作為一家尚未盈利的初創企業,瑞幸咖啡(Luckin Coffee)會提供大量免費贈品和大幅度的優惠,不到兩年前才在長期被星巴克主導的中國咖啡市場嶄露頭角。在幾下點擊就能訂購咖啡的智能手機應用軟件的幫助下,它已獲得近1700萬顧客,并開設了2370家店鋪。

On Friday, stock investors in the United States had a chance to buy into this fast-growth, cash-burning model. Luckin’s shares were up 20 percent at the end of their trading debut in New York, after an initial public offering that valued the company at about $4 billion.

周五,美國的股票投資者有機會入股這一快速增長、同時也快速燒錢的模式。在將公司估值約40億美元的首次公開募股后,瑞幸在紐交所上市交易首日上漲20%。

員工歡慶瑞幸咖啡在納斯達克上市。
Luckin offers proof that China’s weakened tech start-up scene still has some of its old pop.

瑞幸咖啡證明,勢頭趨弱的中國科技初創企業領域仍然存有一些舊時的光彩。

In recent years, new Chinese companies have risen to prominence, raising and burning money at a pace that would make Silicon Valley blush. Bike-sharing start-ups popped up overnight, flooding cities with tens of millions of rainbow-colored dockless bikes. A boom in online food and retail delivery has left the streets of Beijing and Shanghai cluttered with delivery men in bumblebee-yellow or blue helmets and suits, the colors of the two most dominant delivery companies.

近年來,新的中國公司在崛起,他們籌集和燃燒資金的速度令硅谷自愧弗如。共享單車初創企業一夜之間出現,用數千萬輛五彩繽紛的無樁自行車淹沒城市。在線餐飲和零售業遞送的蓬勃發展使得北京和上海街頭擠滿頭戴蜂黃色或藍色頭盔、身著制服的送餐員,這兩種顏色是兩家最大外賣公司的顏色。

Many of those companies have since scaled back, and some have flamed out, as China’s economy slows and financing for tech firms begins to dry up.

隨著中國經濟放緩、科技公司資金開始枯竭,許多這些公司已經縮減規模,有些則已經崩盤。

“You need to take some time for these companies to become profitable,” said Ringo Choi, managing partner for China at EY, the consulting firm. “Not all will become the next Amazon, and not all of them have the fundamentals to sustain them.”

“這些公司要盈利是需要時間的,”咨詢公司安永(EY)在中國的主管合伙人蔡偉榮(Ringo Choi)說。“不是所有公司都能成為下一個亞馬遜,也不是所有公司都有能維持下去的基礎架構。”

Luckin hopes to buck that trend and challenge Starbucks as the reigning king of a tea-drinking country that only relatively recently discovered the joys of java. Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee chain, holds just over half of the Chinese coffee and specialty tea market, according to Euromonitor International, a market research provider. By the end of 2018, Luckin held just over 2 percent of the market, according to Euromonitor estimates.

瑞幸希望打破這個趨勢,挑戰星巴克,在這個相對較晚才開始享受咖啡樂趣的飲茶大國成為霸主。根據市場研究機構歐睿信息咨詢(Euromonitor International)的數據,總部位于西雅圖的咖啡連鎖店星巴克占據了中國咖啡和特色茶飲市場的一半以上。據歐睿估計,到2018年底,瑞幸的市場份額僅略高于2%。

But the growth opportunities are huge. In just four years, China’s specialty tea and coffee market has grown from $2.7 billion in revenues to $4.8 billion, Euromonitor says. The market is still diffuse, as well. The next-biggest competitor to Starbucks, the McDonald’s-owned McCafe, has just 5 percent of the market.

但增長機會是巨大的。歐睿說,在短短四年時間里,中國的特色茶飲和咖啡市場的收入從27億美元增長到了48億美元。市場仍然很分散。星巴克之下,位居第二的是麥當勞旗下的麥咖啡(McCafe),它僅有5%的市場份額。

Luckin has grown rapidly since its founding in late 2017. It was begun by the entrepreneur Jenny Qian Zhiya and has been backed by several investment firms in China, the United States and Singapore, including BlackRock. It plans to increase its storefronts to have the largest coffee chain network in China by the end of this year. That would catapult it past Starbucks, which has 3,600 stores in China.

瑞幸自2017年底成立以來發展迅速。它由創業者錢治亞創辦,得到了中國、美國和新加坡幾家投資公司的支持,其中包括貝萊德(BlackRock)。瑞幸計劃在今年年底之前增加店面,成為中國最大的咖啡連鎖網絡,一舉超越在中國擁有3600家門店的星巴克。

Sustaining that growth depends in large part on whether Luckin can keep its customers. On social media, some people rave about its cheap and convenient coffee. They praise it for coming up with specialty drinks that appeal to the varied tastes of Chinese consumers, like a concoction it calls guava cheese ruby tea.

保持這種增長在很大程度上取決于瑞幸能否留住客戶。在社交媒體上,一些人對其便宜便捷的咖啡贊不絕口。他們稱贊瑞幸推出了迎合中國消費者的多種口味特色飲料,比如一種名為芭樂芝士紅寶石茶的調制茶。

Others deride its taste and say its coffee is just an overpriced version of convenience store sludge.

也有人嘲笑它的味道,說它的咖啡只是便利店劣質咖啡的高價版。

Several times a week, Liu Zhiyan, 34, likes to walk over to the Luckin near her work to get a jolt of caffeine. “Luckin is not as good as Starbucks — the flavor is not so rich,” Ms. Liu said. She used to drink Starbucks once a week but has found herself buying coffee more frequently because Luckin’s coffees are cheaper.

34歲的劉芝妍每周都會有好幾次步行到公司附近的瑞幸去喝杯咖啡。“瑞幸稍微有點欠缺,口感多少有點沒有星巴克濃郁,”劉志燕說。她過去每周喝一次星巴克,但現在買咖啡更頻繁了,因為瑞幸的咖啡更便宜。

“The price is low,” Ms. Liu said. “You get what you pay for.”

“畢竟價格在那里,”劉女士說。“一分價錢一分貨。”

A spokesman for Luckin declined to comment before the company’s debut on the Nasdaq exchange, citing a quiet period as the company was going public.

瑞幸發言人拒絕于該公司在納斯達克(Nasdaq)上市之前置評,理由是公司上市前正處于靜默期。

Luckin prices its coffee similarly to Starbucks coffee but then offers steep discounts. Most of its espresso-based coffees cost between $3.50 and $4, but customers rarely pay the full price because of daily discounts of 50 percent or more. Luckin gives away its first coffee to a new subscriber to its app. A friend referral to the app gets customers another free coffee.

瑞幸咖啡的定價與星巴克咖啡相似,但會提供大幅折扣。大多數以意式濃縮為基礎的咖啡售價在3.5美元至4美元之間,但由于每天有50%或更多的折扣,顧客很少支付全價。瑞幸向其應用的新訂戶免費贈送第一杯咖啡,向好友推薦該應用則可以再得到一杯免費咖啡。

Luckin also lures coffee drinkers with big promotions, resulting in huge sums of money going back into the pockets of customers.

瑞幸還通過大型促銷活動吸引咖啡飲用者,因此有大量資金返回到了消費者的錢包里。

One current promotion encourages customers to buy seven or more items in a week, either individually or within a group, putting them into a pool of similar customers. At the end of the week everyone in the pool will get a cut of 5 million renminbi, or about $723,000. Each participant in last week’s pool took home $4, the company said. Over the 10-week program, Luckin tells its customers, it will give them back more than $7 million.

當前一項促銷活動鼓勵顧客每周消費7件或更多產品,可單獨也可組團購買,這樣便可將他們歸為一組相似顧客。到周末,各小組成員均有機會參與瓜分500萬人民幣(約合72.3萬美元)。公司說每個前一周參與活動的小組成員都能到手4美元。在為期10周的活動中,瑞幸稱將回饋700萬美元給顧客。

Those offers would eat into Luckin’s profits, if it had any. Money spent on growth led the company to record a net loss of $475 million in 2018. So far this year, the company has racked up losses of $85 million.

這些優惠會抵消瑞幸的利潤——如果有盈利的話。增長上的資金投入致使該公司2018年錄得凈虧損4.75億美元。今年截至目前為止,該公司已累積虧損8500萬美元。

Though they both sell coffee, Luckin and Starbucks approach the China market in different ways. Luckin depends heavily on takeout and delivery, a popular option in a country where people like to order meals on their smartphones. Luckin also runs small stores where customers can pick up their coffee, check out the latest discounts or learn about other offers.

雖然都銷售咖啡,瑞幸和星巴克在中國市場卻有著不同的營銷方式。瑞幸主要靠外賣和送貨上門,在這個喜歡在智能手機上點餐的國度,這是個受歡迎的選擇。瑞幸還運營小店面,顧客可以前去那里取咖啡,查詢最新折扣或了解他們的優惠方案。

如果瑞幸在美國出售股票的計劃成功,這家不盈利、仍未經受考驗的公司的市值可高達40億美元。
Starbucks, by contrast, usually offers roomy stores known as a comfortable place to hang out, a refuge from prying parents or a crowded family apartment. Its green-and-white logo holds an aura of affluence in China, and the company has won intense loyalty among many Chinese.

相比之下,星巴克通常會提供寬敞的店面,被認為是閑聚的舒適場所、逃避愛打聽的父母或擁擠家庭住所的地方。它綠白相間的標志在中國帶有一種優渥生活的意味,并且贏得了許多忠實的中國顧客。

“I have never gone to Luckin,” said Zhang Sheng, a recent college graduate who drinks coffee three times a week. “I am loyal to Starbucks because they have good loyalty program.”

“我從沒去過瑞幸,”大學剛畢業、每周喝三次咖啡的張圣說。“我忠于星巴克是因為它們有很好的忠誠度獎勵計劃。”

Starbucks has its own expansion plans, with a goal of nearly doubling its China stories by 2022. Still, in a nod last summer to its new competitor, Starbucks announced a partnership with the e-commerce giant Alibaba to provide delivery of its coffee through Alibaba’s subsidiary, Ele.me. Representatives for Starbucks did not respond to requests for comment.

星巴克本身也有擴張計劃,目標是在2022年使中國店面數量近乎翻一番。但為回應新的競爭者,星巴克去年宣布與電商巨頭阿里巴巴建立合作關系,通過阿里巴巴子公司餓了么提供咖啡外送服務。星巴克代表未回應置評請求。

The next big question for Luckin is how it can start making money. It is unclear whether customers who like Luckin’s discounted coffee will be willing to fork over the full price once those discounts are lifted.

瑞幸的下一個大問題在于,如何開始盈利。一旦折扣取消,尚不清楚喜歡瑞幸打折咖啡的顧客是否愿意支付全價。

For Owen Sun, a 31-year-old who works in product placement for a luxury company, Luckin provides fast coffee when he is too busy to leave work. But he is a fickle consumer, and on a recent day was waiting in a long line at a Shanghai coffee shop called Manner.

對現年31歲、在奢侈品公司從事植入式廣告業務的歐文·孫(Owen Sun)而言,瑞幸為忙得無法脫身的他提供了便捷的咖啡。但他不是個“專一”的消費者,不久前的一天,他在上海一家名叫Manner的咖啡店外排著的長隊等待著。

“To be honest, Starbucks does a better job in packaging the coffee,” Mr. Sun said. “If the price of Luckin coffee went to $4 with no coupons, I might buy Starbucks.”

“說實話,包裝各方面可能星巴克更好一點,”歐文·孫說。“如果(瑞幸)是27塊的話,我可能會買回星巴克。”
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