Leading bottled beverage brand Genki Forest has become the biggest shareholder of Never Coffee, now representing 51% ownership in the specialty coffee and e-commerce platform.
As a result of the move, Never Coffee’s registered capital increased from 1 million yuan up to about 1.36 million yuan. Meanwhile, three original shareholders –Beijing Challenger Technology Co., Ltd., Beijing Hongtai Qihang Venture Capital Center and Lela – have withdrawn their financial involvement in the coffee brand.
Xie Danyang, the general manager of Genki Forest, will now take on the position of Never Coffee’s chairman. In October 2020, Xie had been disclosed as a partner of Genki Forest as well as the deputy general manager of Genki Forest’s national sales.
Beijing-based Never Coffee’s main products are bottled and boxed ready-to-drink coffee, in addition to instant drip coffee bags, which are mostly sold through online channels, offline convenient stores, and supermarkets.
The primary selling point of the brand focuses on low-sugar and sugar-free coffee, while the average price of its boxed products is around 5 yuan, according to e-commerce giant Tmall.
This is not the first time Genki Forest has eyed the emerging coffee market in China. Last year, Genki Forest launched a latte-flavored milk tea containing caffeine, putting it into more direct competition with a wide range of coffee products.
Last December, Hao Ran, the former chief human resources officer of Luckin Coffee, joined Genki Forest. Ran’s acquisition by Genki Forest ignited speculation that the move signalled the brand’s preparation to enter the coffee market. Genki Forest later refuted such rumors.
While it remains unclear whether Genki Forest intends to launch its own coffee line in the near future, the brand has been expanding its investment landscape since 2020. The company has previously developed low-fat foods and launched chicken breast and sausage products. Its founder Binsen Tang, has also invested in the new consumption fields such as non-fried instant noodle brand Ramen Talk, sparkling juice brand Hope Water, and craft beer maker Panda Brew, all through investment firm Challenjers Capital.