Episode 14

The Luckin Scandal: How “China’s Starbucks” Crashed

Released on June 7, 2020


The pandemic-related lockdown continues in much of the world, but in China, they are getting back to work. That gives us a chance to look into a major scandal from the business world that’s come to light in recent weeks at a company called Luckin Coffee, once billed as China’s answer to Starbucks. The company, whose shares are listed in New York, shocked investors in April when it emerged it may have simply fabricated over $300 million of revenue last year. It’s an extraordinary story, with big questions not just for Luckin’s management but also the banks and accounting firms that backed it. This episode, Andrew turns to Nana Li, research and project director for China at the Asian Corporate Governance Association and Jacky Wong (@jackycwong), a columnist at the Wall Street Journal, both in Hong Kong. We then speak to Catherine X. Pan-Giordano, who leads New York-based Dorsey and Whitney’s U.S. - China transactional practice.

Nana Li

Nana Li is Senior Research Analyst for the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA). She is one of the primary authors of ACGA’s biennial CG Watch Report, and is the project manager and one of the lead authors of the ACGA China Corporate Governance Report 2018. She also assists ACGA’s advocacy and educational work, giving presentations in Hong Kong, China and other parts of the region. She was a primary organiser for the "2017 China Responsible Investment Forum" in Tianjin, the first event ACGA has co-organised with the Asset Management Association of China and China Association for Public Companies. She holds a B.Comm. in finance and accounting from the University of New South Wales and a M.Fin. from the University of Hong Kong.

Jacky Wong

Jacky Wong is a reporter and Heard on the Street columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He covers technology, retail and real estate sectors in Asia. Previously, he was a Market Talk Reporter for the Journal in Hong Kong. He won a Google data journalism scholarship to study at Hong Kong University before joining the Journal. He was a speaker at the RISE conference in Hong Kong in 2018. He started his career as a trader in BNP Paribas.

Catherine X. Pan-Giordano

Catherine X. Pan-Giordano is a Partner and Corporate Group Head at Dorsey & Whitney LLP's New York office. She leads the firm's U.S. - China transactional practice and serves as a member of the firm's Management Committee. As an attorney and advisor, she helps clients handle their strategic corporate transactions and solve legal problems for their businesses. She also oversees risk management, dispute resolution and investigation matters for corporate clients and their officers and directors. She was previously an attorney at Goodwin Proctor LLP. She is a member of the Chinese Business Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association. She received her B.A. and LL.B. from Fudan University and her LL.M. from Harvard Law School.