Wed, May 28, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Coca-Cola and Ten Ren brewing new instant-tea drinks

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Swire Coca-Cola Taiwan Ltd yes-terday signed a preliminary agreement with the Ten Ren Tea Co (天仁茗茶) to market Ten Ren brand instant-tea beverages

The agreement calls for Coca-Cola to manage manufacturing and sales while Ten Ren will supply the raw materials and its trademark, starting this summer.

The oolong and green tea drinks will be packaged in 500cc bottles to appeal to the younger generation.

Recent market growth has been in green tea, which is one reason the companies chose the flavor, said Chuang Yuan-ming (莊遠明), Ten Ren's deputy general manager.

An industry watcher said the instant-tea market is still lucrative even though its market share already commands 34.6 percent of all beverage sales.

In the period from March last year until February, tea-beverage sales domestically topped NT$1.58 trillion, with green tea accounting for the lion's share of that amount at 32 percent, up from 29 percent in the previous year, Desmond Wang (王道恆), communication manager of ACNielsen Taiwan, said yesterday.

Although oolong tea accounts for 11 percent of all sales, profit from the mountain tea grew 19 percent compared with the same period last year, making it a competitive product, Wang said.

Hung Shih-ming (洪士民), public affairs manager at market leader Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), says it's not worried about the competition.

"We'd like to see them join the battle, since they will also provide an impetus for us to improve our products and marketing strategies," Hung said.

Swire Coca-Cola Taiwan and Ten Ren Tea are already looking beyond the domestic market.

"If the market share of our product reaches a certain level, we want to expand the products to other places in Asia such as China, Hong Kong and Singa-pore," said William Hsu (許偉倫), external affairs manager at Coca-Cola Taiwan.

"We call the collaboration a marriage of quality tea and excellent marketing," he said.

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