25 Nov 2015
Taiwan Catering Sector Turns To Local Partners to Crack HK Market
With rents sent to fall, many Taiwan catering franchises are once again eying a move into the Hong Kong market.
Tino's Pizza Café is the latest Taiwanese brand to branch out into Hong Kong, as the territory's franchised catering industry looks to expand beyond its home shores. A subsidiary of the Sun Spark Group, last month the company launched its first Hong Kong outlet in association with New Territories-based Essen Worldwide.
Back in January this year, the companies publically signed a joint licensing agreement with the new outlet – in Hong Kong's Tai Po district – the first fruits of that deal. The arrangement sees Essen Worldwide's local knowledge and networks aligned with Tino's established franchising model, with the combination expected to reap dividends for both parties.
With its many years of experience in the catering sector, the Sun Spark Group, was a pioneer of high temperature baking technology in the Taiwanese market. Backed by significant investment in R&D, the group proved hugely successful in introducing classic Italian-style pizza to the territory.
Its Italian pizza is prepared using a combination of traditional cooking methods and meticulous temperature control. It has also become well-known for the high quality and variety of the ingredients used in both its toppings and dough bases. This has seen it not only offer traditional pizzas, but also branch out into introducing a number of innovative new styles and flavours.
Overall, Taiwan is home to a rich variety of catering franchises, with its specialties including coffees, snacks and Chinese and western cuisines. While Hong Kong would seem the natural expansion territory for such businesses – thanks, in part, to its highly developed tourism industry – many would-be entrants have been deterred by the city's high rental costs and their unfamiliarity with the local market requirements.
In light of this, identifying an appropriate Hong Kong partner is seen as a key means for companies in Taiwan's catering sector to establish a foothold in the city. With recent reports indicating that commercial rents are dropping in central Hong Kong, this may be the ideal window for those Taiwanese businesses looking to establish a presence in the city.
Tammy Hsieh, Taiwan Office