Thu, Dec 02, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Ministry approves permit for China’s ‘Yonghe King’

COMPETITION:Some are concerned that China-backed ‘Taiwan Yonghe King’ will compete with local soy milk breakfast shops that are a traditional staple nationwide

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has approved a Chinese investor’s application to set up an enterprise called “Taiwan Yonghe King” (台灣永和大王) in Taiwan to sell food, beverages and groceries, the ministry announced on Tuesday.

The Chinese investor will invest NT$5 million (US$163,860) in the business, ministry officials said.

The investment plan has stirred controversy because of the company’s proposed name and speculation that the company backing it was a soybean milk-chain in Shanghai called Shanghai Yonghe King Co (上海永和大王).

Dismissing the rumors, ministry officials said the investor was not involved with the Shanghai company.

Traditional

Soybean milk is a traditional breakfast beverage in Taiwan that often goes with flat sesame seed bread stuffed with a fried dough stick.

Yonghe (永和), Taipei County, is one of the best-known places for breakfast food, and its popularity has made “Yonghe” soybean milk representative of Taiwanese soybean milk.

Use of the name could be seen as conflicting with existing breakfast and late-night snack chains in Taiwan, but ministry officials said that companies are allowed to register any name in Taiwan as long as it is unique.

However, they acknowledged that if a company wanted to register the name “Taiwan Yonghe King” as a trademark in Taiwan, the move would very likely be rejected because there would be too little differentiation between it and other existing trademarks, such as “Yonghe Soybean Milk” and “Yonghe Soybean Milk King.”

No store yet

It was still unclear yesterday whether the newly approved company intended to set up a soybean milk store.

During Tuesday’s investment review meeting at the ministry, 24 investment projects were approved, including 10 investment plans proposed by overseas Chinese and foreign nationals and eight by Chinese investors.

Investments in China proposed by one overseas investor and five Taiwanese companies were also approved.

One surprise was that the high-profile plan of panel maker AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) to invest in a 7.5-generation panel factory in China was not put on the meeting’s agenda.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) said the authorities involved were still reviewing AUO’s application.

AUO is one of the world’s major manufacturers of large-sized TFT-LCD panels.

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