Jollibee forays into hotpot dining business in ChinaBy Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–Home-grown fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. has teamed up with Taiwan’s leading restaurant operator Wowprime Corp. to own and operate a hot pot dining chain in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
This joint venture deal with a unit of Wowprime raises JFC’s stake in China, also adding a fourth restaurant brand under the group. The joint venture will own and operate the 12 Sabu brand.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, JFC said the 12 Sabu brand features” low-priced hot-pot dishes served in a clean and bright dining environment” and “highlights safe and fresh food which each customer cooks in individual fast-heating stone hot pots.” As of 2011, there were 18 of these 12 Sabu stores operating in Taiwan, with revenues of about NT$200 million ($6.67 million).
The expected investment from JFC for the period 2012 to 2015 for this venture is equivalent to around $8 million, the disclosure said.
“The joint venture aims to tap into the very popular hot pot dining market in China with the benefit of the combined experience and expertise of Wowprime and JFC,” the disclosure said.
JFC’s wholly-owned subsidiaries Jollibee Worldwide Pte. Ltd. and Golden Plate Pte. Ltd. have signed the deal primarily with Hoppime Ltd., a subsidiary of Wowprime. JFC’s subsidiaries combined will own 48 percent of the joint venture company while Wowprime’s subsidiary and executives combined will own 48 percent. The remaining 4 percent will be owned by “certain individuals with experience in the retail sector in China,” the disclosure said.
Through their subsidiaries, JFC and Wowprime will share control and management of the joint venture company equally.
Wowprime, founded in 1990, is a publicly listed company in Taiwan and is known as Taiwan’s largest restaurant chain group, JFC’s diclosure said.
Wowprime currently owns and operates 210 stores under a total of 11 brands in Taiwan, 46 stores under two brands in China, and two stores under one brand in Thailand. This is the first time for Wowprime to enter into a joint venture with another group.
JFC currently operates 367 stores under the brands Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan and San Pin Wang, as well as research and development and food processing facilities in China.
Offshore expansion is part of JFC’s core strategy. To date, JFC operates 2,022 stores in the Philippines and 2,546 globally.
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