Sun, Nov 09, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Boycott showing signs of unraveling

LITTLE IMPACT?Consumer groups have called for the Ting Hsin boycott to continue, despite 85°C resuming use of Wei Chuan-marketed milk and Taiwan Star’s market rise

By Tsai Ying  /  Staff reporter

A boycott of products made by Ting Hsin International Group (頂新國際集團) — the main suspect in the latest food scandal — is on the ropes after well-known cafe and bakery chain 85°C announced that it has resumed using milk marketed by Wei Chuan Foods Corp (味全食品工業), while the market share of Taiwan Star Telecom Co (台灣之星) rallied. Wei Chuan and Taiwan Star are two of Ting Hsin’s flagship subsidiaries.

Ting Hsin sparked a public outcry after it was discovered that the company had used large quantities of recycled waste oil and animal feed-grade oil in the manufacturing of its food oil products, which led to a nationwide boycott of the group’s products, as well of those of its subsidiaries, beginning in September.

People have boycotted milk marketed by Wei Chuan under the Linfengying (林鳳營) brand and refused to register for mobile phone services under Taiwan Star, a 4G LTE service provider.

However, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) earlier this week said that, less than two months into the boycott, 85°C had started using Linfengying milk in its coffee again, prompting the lawmaker to vow that she would never visit the chain again.

According to an 85°C spokesperson, the chain resumed using Linfengying milk at the beginning of this month, due to a shortage of milk supplies.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Star said its business had rebounded last month, with the daily average of registered users growing 1.25 times compared with September, while the number of those transferring from other telecoms increased twofold.

Taiwan Star vice marketing president Chu Hsiao-hsin (朱曉辛) said the resurgence might have resulted from the company beating others in introducing an extended all-you-can-use Internet package.

When asked whether the boycott has had an impact on the company’s clientele, Chu said there is no doubt it has, but that the company’s goal to achieve 20 percent of the market share remains unchanged.

She added that the telecom has recruited more than 90,000 users.

Netizens have given their input on the boycott unraveling on the Professional Technology Temple — the nation’s largest online bulletin board.

“Taiwanese are known for having short memories. I’m not surprised,” one said.

“All the Linfengying milk was snatched from the shelves of Costco yesterday because they are now about NT$50 cheaper than other brands,” another said.

The Consumer’s Foundation yesterday said it is remarkable that the campaign has continued for so long, and that it was predictable that Ting Hsin would launch all kinds of promotional packages to entice consumers back.

The foundation urged the public to continue boycotting the company and purchase products from other firms, to teach “unscrupulous merchants” a lesson.

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