With Southeast Asia’s continuous development and the rise of a new middle class in the region, this emerging market with a population of 600 million has been attracting more attention from international coffee brands. Recently, on JobStreet, a recruitment website in Southeast Asia, Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee was shown to be recruiting store managers in Singapore, offering a monthly salary ranging from S$3,800 to S$4,900 ($2,824 – $3,641).
The recruitment posts can also be seen on platforms such as GrabJob and MyCareersFuture. The position does not require much working experience because the brand will provide a series of training sessions. Luckin has very standardized training content for employees in China, including those responsible for making coffee, delivering coffee, cleaning, and supervising.
In addition, Luckin Coffee has recruited marketing managers, project managers and senior engineers in Singapore through JobStreet. These posts were published in mid-to-late December, but the salary was not disclosed. However, the requirements for these positions are slightly higher. For example, the marketing manager needs to have at least five years of marketing experience in Singapore, and PR experience is preferred.
Singapore is a port country that maintains free trade agreements with more than 20 different countries and territories. Victor Mah, chairman of Singapore Coffee Association and ASEAN Coffee Federation, once pointed out that because Singapore does not produce coffee beans, it is easier for coffee merchants to regard it as a neutral trading place. Moreover, if the warehouse of coffee merchants is located in the free trade zone, they will not have to pay import taxes, which is very attractive to coffee import and export practitioners.
When Luckin Coffee enters Singapore, it can seize the opportunity of the local coffee market, but it faces stiff competition from Starbucks, as well as local brands Flash Coffee and Kopitiams.
No matter the market, Starbucks is a tough competitor that rising coffee brands can’t easily get around. As early as 1996, Starbucks entered the Southeast Asian market and opened its first store in Singapore. At present, Starbucks has about 130 stores in Singapore. However, a scandal broke out last September, when personal information including the names, home addresses and email addresses of about 330,000 Starbucks customers was peddled in online forums.
Supported by Rocket Internet, Flash Coffee was founded in 2019 and focuses on high-quality coffee drinks at favorable prices. In 2022, it received B-round financing of over $30 million. However, it reportedly started layoffs in November 2022 because of weakening economic conditions.