Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet

May 22, 2012

CHATIME: What We Can Learn from the Market Leader in the International Bubble Tea Industry!

May 22, 2012

CHATIME: What We Can Learn from the Market Leader in the International Bubble Tea Industry!

Read: Chatime Fever in Manila

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Did you know that CHATIME is a $20 million business with 580+ stores worldwide and is the #1 Market Leader in the International Bubble Milk Tea Industry?

It is one of the Top 5 Bubble Milk Tea brands in Taiwan, #2 in the Philippines (behind Serenitea, which is the first in the local market), and is still growing fast.

It was great to get the chance to meet Henry Wang of La Kaffa International, the owner of the Chatime brand, and learn how they were able to expand that quickly since 2005. I also wanted to know from him how Chatime was able to capture the hearts of the Filipinos (see Chatime Fever in Manila) and the world's consumers.

If you are an avid fan of Chatime, a competitor in the milk tea business, or an entrepreneur who wants to learn from successful entrepreneurs, you have to check out the Chatime Trivia and the Exclusive Philippine Media Interview with Henry Wang on the story behind the international success of Chatime.

Flavors of Taiwan Series (2012):

Interview with Henry Wang, La Kaffa International

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We visited La Kaffa's headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan. La Kaffa owns three brands: La Kaffa Coffee (coffee and Taiwanese food), Chatime (Bubble Milk Tea brand) and Zen Q (dessert store).

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Henry Wang, owner of La Kaffa International, was kind enough to share with us the story and strategy of creating the Eastern Starbucks in the Bubble Milk Tea industry in the shortest period of time.

According to him, Chatime's direction is "to open at least 25 flagship chain stores in most of the major shopping malls in (the) coming two years to intercept and attract young society with health-curiousness."

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In this video, Henry Wang answers the following questions from the Philippine Media:

  • What is your Philosophy in Business/Chatime?
  • In 2005, how did you make Chatime different?
  • Did Chatime invent the Brewing Technology?
  • How is Chatime Tea different from other brands?
  • Why did you say "YES" to the Philippines?
  • Why did you choose the KOA Family?
  • How often do you upgrade your Menu?
  • If a non-drinking tea person went to Chatime, what would be a good drink to try to introduce that person to tea?
  • Can you tell us about your experience expanding to the west like US or Australia, which are not as familiar with bubble tea?
  • What is the strategy to reach out to the young generation?
  • What is your Vision for Chatime?
  • What is your most favorite Chatime drink?
  • Why did you choose the color Purple as the design of the (Chatime) stores?
  • Tell us a little bit about your background before you started La Kaffa?
  • How much sales and number of stores (at the end of 2011)?
  • What is the food strategy of Chatime?
  • What innovation or achievement are you proudest of?
  • What are the tea drinking habits of most Taiwanese?

Watch this video: 
Chatime's Henry Wang on Building an "Eastern Starbucks" of Bubble Milk Tea


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The #1 top selling product is the basic Pearl Milk Tea (This is our favorite also).

They have the BEST bubble pearls (sago) among the different milk tea stores because they are chewy, bouncy and have the right sweetness. It is considered a SIN to run out of bubble pearls in any Chatime store (or any other bubble milk tea shop, for that matter).

Henry Wang prefers the stronger milk teas, and his favorite is the TieGuanyin Tea Latte. This tea has a cult following and is also known as "The Iron Goddess of Mercy" Oolong Tea Latte.

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The Chatime logo is derived from the One Heart Two Leaves formation of a young tea plant.

Learn more on The Making of Green Tea (Nantau Highlands, Taiwan)

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The Chatime stores in the Philippines have a vibrant lounge-dining concept and are more beautiful than the Chatime stores in Taiwan, which are usually just for take-out or to-go.

Chatime stores are purple because it is the favorite color of Henry Wang.

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Chatime Philippines is powered by a dynamic entrepreneur and foodie family (from left to right):

  • Johnlu Koa, French Baker Founder and CEO of Chatime Philippines, provides the experience and guidance behind the rapid expansion of Chatime in the Philippines and deep insight as to what Filipinos are looking for.
  • Lisa Koa, Chatime Philippines Operations, HR and Training Director, is the reluctant leader and the wife of Michael who is Taiwanese and the main reason why the family got the Master Franchise of Chatime in the Philippines.
  • Chris Cua, Chatime Philippines' Finance Director, is the heir apparent and son of Johnip Cua, my boss and a marketing legend in P&G, who is the key behind the profitable expansion of Chatime.
  • Michael Koa, Managing Director of Chatime Philippines, the oldest nephew of Johnlu and the driving force behind the company's aggresive expansion and youthful vibe, and the Chatime fever in Manila.

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CHATIME is a beautiful and clever brand name because:

  • It means "Sunrise" in Chinese, which also refers to Henry Wang's goal of having Chatime in every place that has sunrise, and
  • It is a play on words that have a double meaning of Tea Time (Cha - Time) or a place to socialize with friends (Chat - time).

Official Website: www.iChatime.com
Facebook: Chatime Philippines
Twitter: @Chatime.PH

(Note: Currently, Chatime franchises are only awarded and kept within the family and inner circle of friends, with only a few exceptions.)

Related Blog Posts:

TAIWAN: Guide to an Awesome Experience in Taipei! #CometoTaiwan

Awesome Taiwan #CometoTaiwan Series (2014):

Flavors of Taiwan Series (2012):


Live an Awesome Life,

anton  signature 
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com

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Full Disclosure: The Taiwan Learning Trip was courtesy of Chatime Philippines. :)

P.S. We are addicted to Chatime because of the pearls, the taste of their milk tea and that there is always something new to try. We probably drink it 2-3 times/week as a dessert or a replacement for coffee. Our favorite branch is Chatime BGC, which is open until 1am from Monday to Friday. :)

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