China’s Cotti Coffee makes Middle East debut and reaches 7,000 stores globally

Following rapid expansion across Asia Pacific over the last six months, the small-format, convenience-focused coffee chain is entering uncharted waters with an outlet in Dubai

A Cotti Coffee store in Gangnam, Seoul | Photo credit: Cotti Coffee


China’s Cotti Coffee continues to make significant inroads on the international stage with a store in the UAE – the coffee chain’s first in the Middle East. 

The Dubai outlet opened just a week after Beijing-based Cotti Coffee announced it had reached 7,000 stores globally. 

The value and digital-focused coffee chain has rapidly expanded across Asia Pacific since opening its first store in Fuzhou, China, in October 2022. Cotti Coffee currently operates stores across 10 markets in the region – China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.  

Cotti Coffee, which opts for a revenue and profit-sharing arrangement with franchisees rather than charging upfront fees, also has outlets in Canada and Australia.

Further indicating its global aspirations, commercial real estate firm Colliers announced at the end of last year that Cotti will debut at Hawaii’s Pearl Highlands Center in June 2024 ahead of a planned launch into the US mainland in the next few years. 

Several Chinese coffee chains are currently utilising nimble store footprints to rapidly scale their domestic footprints. Market leader Luckin Coffee opened more than 8,000 stores in 2023, while fellow small-format brands including Lucky Cup, Minism Coffee and There Was No Coffee also achieved triple-digit outlet growth last year. 

While China has traditionally had a fairly insular coffee shop market, rising coffee consumption across Asia Pacific and a resurgence in post-pandemic international travel in the region has seen several Chinese brands seek to establish a foothold in new markets for the first time. 

In the last 18 months, Shanghai-based Manner Coffee opened its first overseas site in Hong Kong, 5coffee debuted in Malaysia with a store in Johor Bahru and Luckin Coffee and There Was No Coffee both launched in Singapore. 

However, with its Dubai store Cotti Coffee has become the first Chinese coffee chain to enter the Middle East branded coffee shop market. Other east Asian coffee shop operators to have successfully scaled their footprints in the region include South Korea’s Caffe Bene in Saudi Arabia, Thailand’s Café Amazon in Saudi Arabia and Oman and Japan’s % Arabica, which operates 43 stores across seven Middle Eastern markets. 

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