Ice Monster (
"I have confidence in the franchise project since Japanese tourists constitute 40 percent of our customer base," Frank Lo (
The first overseas Ice Monster branch may open in spring next year in Tokyo's Shibuya district depending on how quick the Japanese authorities approve of the food-safety of his recipe, Lo said.
PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG
One franchise owner yesterday said that breaking into the Japanese market would require tailoring products for the Japanese palate.
"Flavors that can be accepted by consumers in that country is a prerequisite," said Johnson Fu (
Fu has franchised out over 700 pearl-milk-tea shops to the US and Asia.
He said challenges may lie ahead for Ice Monster, adding, "A product that sells well in Taipei may not necessarily be successful in Japan."
While the innovative use of chopped mango stacked on shaved ice may have been the latest snack craze five years ago when it first hit the domestic market, Lo said he has been mixing mango and condensed milk into the traditional ice concoction as a summer snack since he was a child.
However, he never expected that his homemade ice recipe could be a marketable franchise.
One customer standing in line in 32?C heat yesterday waiting to munch down a mango ice said she came to Ice Monster -- as opposed to five others in the vicinity -- for two reasons.
"Ice Monster tastes better and, besides, they have the reputation," said Yvonne Fang (
Lo opened his ice stand in its current location in 1995 on Yungkang Street, but came close to shutting it after three years due to poor sales.
His financial woes drove Lo to develop a new flavor -- mango -- at NT$100 per plate.
"The new product soon boosted my business as queues of customers flocked to my door after being told by word-of-mouth by guests who had tried it," Lo said.
In addition to the streams of ice gluttons that consume on average 1,500 plates of shaved ice per day, Lo's mango ice also brought media exposure such as the Japanese food show TV Champion, which put him on the Japanese tourist map, Lo said.
Lo sparked a host of copycats also selling shaved mango ice.
The basic product is quite simple: sliced mango, condensed milk and his homemade syrup.
Lo admits his mango ice has nothing different in it from other ice shops.
"When people ask me about the secret to my success, I always tell them that it was an accident," he said. "Freshness is the key."
Unlike other ice shops that have developed into chain stores nationwide, Lo said he would not mass produce his product until the quality is assured.
Lo has until recently put off a two-year old plan to start the franchise project.
If his mango ice business flies in Japan, however, Lo said he will try to bring the sweet fruit taste to Hawaii and southern California's sizeable Japanese population.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Alibaba is one of a number of Chinese firms that has answered Beijing’s call to invest in the development of cutting-edge technologies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) yesterday unveiled a new server chip that is based on advanced 5-nanometer technology, marking a milestone in China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The Chinese tech giant’s newest chip is based on micro-architecture provided by the SoftBank Group Corp-owned Arm Ltd, it said. Alibaba, which is holding its annual cloud summit in Hangzhou, China, said that the chip is to be used in its own data centers in the “near future” and would not, for the time being, be sold commercially. “Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better
Production at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp’s (TSMC, 台積電) fabs was not affected by a fire at a construction site for a water recycling facility in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that the construction site is not adjacent to its fabs, which were unaffected. CTCI Corp (中鼎工程) is responsible for the construction of the facility, which it is to operate itself once it is completed, the chipmaker said. The facility caught fire at about 11am, and the blaze was brought under control about 30 minutes after the incident was reported, the Southern Taiwan Science Park Administration
‘SHORT-TERM ECONOMIC PAIN’: A military takeover would only temporarily weigh on wafer production on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, IC Insights said Taiwan has more chip manufacturing capacity than any other economy in the world, US-based market information advisory firm IC Insights said in a research paper last week, cautioning that the nation’s strength could prompt China to attempt to take over Taiwan. Taiwan commanded 21.4 percent of global installed IC capacity, ahead of South Korea’s 20.4 percent, Japan’s 15.8 percent and China’s 15.3 percent, North America’s 12.6 percent and Europe’s 5.7 percent, IC Insights said. Taiwan is one of two countries that uses 10-nanometer technology or better to produce wafers, holding 62.8 percent of global capacity, with South Korea holding the remaining 37.2
AGGRESSIVE STEP: With the new processors, Apple is aiming at the high-end chips Intel has provided for the MacBook Pro and other top-end Macs for about 15 years Apple Inc on Monday took the most aggressive step yet to strip Intel Corp chips from its computers, announcing more powerful homegrown Mac processors alongside a total revamp of its MacBook Pro laptop computers. The company showcased the chips at an event called “Unleashed,” which also included its latest audio products. The new components, called the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, are 70 percent faster than its M1 predecessors, Apple said. It also unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, adding larger screens, MagSafe charging and better resolution. With the new processors and devices, Apple is aiming squarely at the high-end chips that Intel has