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China’s Largest Chain Gas Station Sinopec Starts Selling Coffee and Luosifen

It looks like Luckin Coffee's competitor got the excalibur.

EasyJoy, a retail brand owned by Sinopec, opened its first coffee shop in Beijing on December 9, 2020. This is not the brand’s first coffee shop, and they have been trying to open a coffee shop in Hangzhou since September 2019.

This week, EasyJoy also launched its own Luosifen brand, “E Sister”(易姐姐).

EasyJoy, a sub-brand founded by Sinopec in 2008, started as a convenience store. Almost every Sinopec gas stations has an EasyJoy convenience store, of which total is more than 27600 stores in China by 2020, making it the largest convenience store in China. In addition, Sinopec is one of the two largest state-owned gas station chains in China.

EasyJoy began trying to enter the chain coffee market in 2019. Not long ago, it formed a new joint venture with Lyan Coffee, another Chinese coffee brand, to further gain advantages in the coffee supply chain and experience. Lyan Coffee was once considered Luckin Coffee’s main competitor, but it fared worse than Luckin, and it was rumored to be going bankrupt in June.

Cooperation with Lyan Coffee EasyJoy will bring Lyan Coffee back to life, and to some extent it will gain a better competitive advantage than Luckin. EasyJoy says it plans to open 3000 coffee shops at gas stations in the next three years. This will repeat their success in convenience stores, making them one of the top chain coffee brands in China. For reference, Starbucks has 4400 stores in China.

It is worth mentioning that the biggest difference between EasyJoy and other convenience stores and coffee chains is that it hardly needs to think about rent. It always operates in Sinopec gas stations, which are profitable even without EasyJoy,.

The other latest news about EasyJoy is that it will start selling the instant Luosifen called “E Sister”. Luosifen is a smelly food from Guangxi. Because of its unique taste, it has become one of the most popular foods in the Chinese market this year. Prior to this, KFC in China has already started to sell instant Luosifen.

EasyJoy claims that their Luosifen will be sold not only in their convenience stores, but also through e-commerce sites and Wechat, so their move into the field may be to develop their own e-commerce business.

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