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Gong Cha bags investment for expansion in new and existing markets

South Korean-owned Taiwanese F&B franchise Gong Cha has bagged an undisclosed investment figure from private equity firm TA Associates to grow the Gong Cha brand in new and existing markets. Currently, Gong Cha has more than 1,000 stores in 17 countries across the globe, including Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Mexico, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Utilising primarily a franchise model, Gong Cha reaches consumers through a variety of retail store formats, including urban and suburban stores, as well as take-out shops, mall-based stores and kiosks. Euiyeol Kim, CEO of the Gong Cha Group, said with its large capital base and global footprint, TA Associates aims to offer global resources and experience to further strengthen the F&B brand’s market position.

Edward Sippel, a managing director at TA Associates and co-head of Asia operations of TA Associates Asia Pacific said the company will work closely with Gong Cha’s management in supporting its franchise partners to further Gong Cha’s strong business model into new and existing markets.

Meanwhile, multiple media reports in South Korea stated that Gong Cha’s parent company Unison Capital is in talks with TA Associates to sell the F&B brand for approximately US$296 million. Marketing has reached out to TA Associates and Unison Capital for additional information.

In addition, Gong Cha brought on board Peter Rodwell as the new executive chairman. He brings more than three decades of retail food and beverage and franchising experience to the Gong Cha Group, having led McDonald’s expansion across Asia Pacific and the Middle East. He left McDonald’s in July 2015 and started a consulting firm based in Singapore.

The Gong Cha brand was first launched 10 years ago in Singapore by RTG Holdings, and converted to the LiHo brand in June 2017. However, a private equity firm Unison Capital which owns the founder of the Gong Cha brand, Royal Tea Taiwan brought the bubble tea franchise back to Singapore in December 2017.

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