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Unread 08-05-2008, 06:44 PM
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Default Baskin-Robbins goes to China

from Chicago Sun-Times website: http://www.suntimes.com/news/world/1...073108.article
Quote:
Baskin-Robbins signs deal to expand in China

July 31, 2008
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BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

SHANGHAI, China---- Ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins and a locally based partner agreed Thursday to expand the ice cream chain's business in northwestern and eastern China, with plans for 100 new stores in the next decade.

Baskin-Robbins, which opened its first mainland Chinese store in 1993 in Beijing, faces surging competition from rival ice cream makers such as Dairy Queen, Haagen-Dazs and Cold Stone Creamery, whose shops have popped up even in out-of-the-way malls and grocery stores in recent months.

''We are always looking at growing not only in China but also outside in the region,'' said Srinivas Kumar, chief brand officer for Baskin-Robbins Worldwide, which with 5,800 outlets says it is the world's top ice cream chain.

The company plans to open its first outlet in Shanghai by the end of the year, said Lin Xin Bin, general manager of Shaanxi Stellerich Food & Restaurant Co., a Taiwan-owned company based in north-central Shaanxi province that will act as Baskin-Robbins' local partner in Shanghai and Shaanxi.

Exact investment figures were not disclosed. However, the two sides said Shaanxi Stellerich would invest ''hundreds of millions of yuan'' -- tens of millions of dollars -- in expanding the Baskin-Robbins franchise chain.

That shop will likely be located in either Xujiahui, a bustling shopping district, or in Jing'an, another somewhat more upscale shopping area along the city's famous Nanjing Rd., Lin said.

Shaanxi Stellerich is the franchise agent for KFC and other foreign food operators in Shaanxi. It has 30 KFC outlets.

Baskin-Robbins, a unit of Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin' Brands Inc., already has 24 stores in Beijing and 16 test outlets elsewhere in the country with another local partner.

Until recently, ice cream was a novelty in China, apart from stick ices sold in the summer by roving peddlers. But a growing taste among Chinese for dairy products and sweets helped boost ice cream sales by 10 percent in 2007, according to market research firm Euromonitor International, to 35 billion yuan ($5.1 billion)

As a privately held company, Baskin-Robbins does not release figures on its local sales, Kumar said. But he noted that it opened five outlets in Beijing in the past five months, signaling confidence in the market.

''They are profitable. They are growing. That means we are happy,'' he said.

Kumar said Baskin-Robbins took its time in choosing a second partner for its expansion outside Beijing.

''We've been successful in Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, but we did not know if we would be successful in China,'' he said.

''We're a 100 percent franchise business so we take time to understand the local market, to understand the real estate and to understand local consumers,'' Kumar said.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Unread 10-08-2008, 07:38 AM
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Default Baskin-Robbins goes to China

Baskin-Robbins, the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, today announced plans to open its
first store in Shanghai, with a total of 100 new stores planned over the next
10 years in the Eastern and Northwestern regions of Mainland China.
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