Sunday, September 04, 2011

COMEBUY teashops

Comebuy teashops enter Europe

Taipei Times Story:  Staff Writer, with CNA (pictures from web)

People in Germany are now able to have a sip of authentic Taiwanese tea and enjoy its famed bubble milk tea, a local teashop chain said yesterday.

With a stated goal of becoming “the Eastern Starbucks,” the Taipei-based Comebuy teashop chain has almost achieved its aim of extending its reach to six countries outside Taiwan, with outlets in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in addition to the imminent Berlin opening, and with plans for a Japanese presence approaching the final stages.

The grand opening of its first German store in Berlin on Sunday last week made it the first Taiwanese teashop chain to set up in Europe. “We’d like to introduce good Taiwanese tea to our foreign friends,” said Sam Lin, executive director of Comebuy International Co (長沅國際實業).

Many similar local businesses have expressed interest in the European market, but so far only Comebuy has set up a store after meeting strict EU standards, he said.

Besides strengthening training and tightening quality control, Lin said his company had to rebuild its “tea espresso machine,” which cost NT$120,000 (US$4,134), to allow it to get the “Conformite Europende” mark. As is the case with other overseas shops, there will also be subtle changes to the flavors and packaging of many of its products to suit German consumers.

“For our Berlin store, we’ll have products specially flavored with yogurt,” Lin said.

Established in 2001, Comebuy opened its first teashop in Taiwan in 2002, but has since switched its business focus to overseas markets. Besides setting up in Germany’s largest city, the teashop chain is planning to gain footholds in the UK, France and the Czech Republic, Lin said. “In fact, India is also one of our extension options,” Lin added.

Comebuy currently has 92 stores in Taiwan and 59 outlets overseas.

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