Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Beer's bid for China market goes flat

The Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation (TTL) may have to go on the wagon in China, given official reluctance to open the market to Taiwan Beer.

The re-election of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on March 20 sparked changes in Chinese policies toward Taiwan, "creating uncertainties for the launch of Taiwan Beer on the mainland," TTL Chairman Huang Ying-shan (黃營杉) said.

According to Huang, China was slated to approve the branding of Taiwan Beer last March, but the matter has yet to be acted upon.

The TTL has completed all necessary legal arrangements for the beer to be launched in the mainland, and Huang said that he only hopes that mainland China will abide by the World Trade Organization's rule of "national treatment" to open its market to Taiwan Beer.

Under the current conditions, the TTL is considering canceling a sales promotion for Taiwan Beer planned for September in Beijing, Huang said

He added that sponsoring such activities will be meaningless if the beer cannot be marketed in the mainland.

The TTL is also likely to file a protest with the WTO should the mainland fail to comply by the world trade regulatory body's "national treatment" rule, he added.

A total of 18 products manufactured by the TTL won gold prizes in a world liquor competition held last week in Belgium, while the TTL was also rewarded with a special award as an "excellent company." Taiwan Beer, one of the TTL's much-acclaimed products, enjoys an 80 percent market share in Taiwan.

Despite the fact that Taiwan Beer's mainland landing plan has been boycotted, Long Life cigarettes, a distinguished brand of TTL's tobacco goods, is expected to hit the mainland market in the near future as it has gained official registration from mainland authorities, Huang said.

The cigarettes are scheduled to be marketed in October in the mainland, with an approved amount of 30,000 packs per year in the initial stage, he said.

It is understood that the new setback arises from Beijing's policy changes toward Taiwan out of political motivations in the wake of the presidential election.

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