Ten Ren Aims for No.1 Spot in Cross-Sstrait Tea

Dec 26, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι General Items Ι By Ben, CENS
facebook twitter google+ Pin It plurk

On Dec. 10 the , Ten Ren Group, Taiwan's leading tea vendor, inaugurated a revamped Tea Culture Building in Taipei in celebration of its 50-year anniversary. The company has set aside NT$185 million (US$5.44 million at US$1:NT$34) and spent a full year to revamp the building.

Ten Ren chairman Lee Jui-ho saysid the Tea Culture Building is a milestone in his company's 50-year historydevelopment history, and . Lee vows to develop the building as a centerpiece for marketing and promoting tea culture in Taiwan and mainland China, not to mention helping Ten Ren become the largest tea vendor on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

"The building conveys the tea culture that has taken deeply rooted in Taiwan," Lee states. "It also signifies our company's tradition of innovation will continue to grow in this new era of globalizationthe new times."

Embracing the Ten Ren 's corporate management spirit, the five-story Tea Culture Building contains a Ten Ren Tea flagship retail outletshop on the first floor, a Ccha For Tea restaurant ("cha" is "tea" in Mandarin Chinese) on the second floor, a tea- art center on the third floor, the headquarters of the Ten Fu Group (Ten Ren's mainland operation) on the fourth floor, and a convention and employee- training center on the fifth floor.

Lee says his company will continue to do everything itn can to cope with the Taiwan government's calls for keeping corporate roots on the islandin Taiwan. The company has resolved to invest over NT$50 million (US$1.547 million) in Taiwan annually overin the next few years and increase its procurement from Taiwan by 10% a yearly.

"Our Taiwan headquarters will serve as the knowledge and talent development center for our global operations," says Lee. "It will play a very important role in consolidating our global tea resources and marketing operations."

Lee Sheng-chih, president of Ten Ren Tea, the flagship company of the Ten Ren Group, said at the Dec. 10 anniversary ceremony that his company will soon erect open a Ccha For Tea outletrestaurant at the new Neihu Science-based Industrial Park.

Ten Ren's Ccha For Tea restaurants were honored in November by the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) as a model business.

"In what is a conventional industry, Ten Ren has proved that there are only sunset enterprises, no sunset industries," says Lee Sheng-chih.

In July 2002, Ten Ren signed a deal with Japanese noodle- chain restaurantstore chain operator Sugakico to licensinge the Japanese company to operate Ccha For Tea outlets in Japan. Sugakico has since opened a Ccha For Tea restaurant in Nagoya, Japan and plans to open a second outletcha For Tea shop in Nagoya in the near futureby the end of 2003.

Lee says it's not easy for Taiwanese brands to penetrate the Japanese market. "Japanese people love Chinese tea, but they are critical of foreign brands," Lee explains. "Our penetration in that market shows that our brand is accepted by Japanese consumers. Only a few Taiwanese restaurant operators have penetrated the Japanese market: us and the well-known dumpling vendor Ting Tai Fong."

Ten Ren currently has five Ccha For Tea outlets in Taiwan, four of which are located in Taipei. Since the 1980s, Ten Ren has been extending the chain overseas through franchising deals. At that time, the company's overseas operations were focused on Chinese communities. The company began extending its overseas operations to non-Chinese communities in Japan and Singapore in 2002.

Lee says Sugakico is one of Japan's largest noodle- restaurant chains, with it's a core competence in centralized kitchen operations. The Japanese restaurant chain paid 10 million Japanese yen (US$93,000 at US$1=107 yen) to Ten Ren for rights to use the Ccha For Tea brand in Japan. According to its agreement with Sugakico, Ten Ren also earns a bonus equivalent to 2% of the sales of each Chatea For Tea restaurant operated by Sugakico.

"While e don't care much about the royalties paid by our Japanese partner are of course welcome," says a Ten Ren executive,. "the most important thing to us is that this agreement will helpwe can promote Chinese tea to the Japanese market through joint cooperation with the Japanese partner, benefiting our firm in the long run."

Currently Ten Ren has 48 overseas outlets, including teashops and Ccha For Tea restaurants, in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. Recently a firm from theof United Arab Emirates has expressed strong interest inwillingness to opening Ccha For Tea outlets there.
©1995-2006 Copyright China Economic News Service All Rights Reserved.