Tealive penetrates Cambodia market, aims to have 25 outlets in 5 years

Tealive has expanded into Cambodia via a master franchise agreement with a unit of Cambodian F&B player HSC Group, and aims to set up 25 outlets in five years. Loob Holding founder and CEO Bryan Loo (pictured) said HSC Group was chosen due to its good fit with the Tealive brand, having been a custodian of various international brands in the F&B industry. 

HSC Group currently manages international F&B brands such as Paris Baguette, Crystal Jade Restaurant, Burger King, 100 Plus and others in Cambodia besides retail brands and cosmetics. It is owned by Oknha Sok Hong, the son of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Sok Kong whose Sokimex conglomerate is involved in diverse businesses including Cambodia’s largest petrol station network.

Cambodia is the eighth market Tealive has entered into, after Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Brunei, the Philippines, Australia and the UK. According to Loo, the first outlet will be located at Phnom Penh and have planned dine-in facilities complete with a live entertainment section where singers will perform each night. It is also bringing its Tealive 3.0 format that comprises contactless ordering and payment, drive-through and drive-in models, as well as Tealive Eat snacks. Loo added that its store will take on a cafe ambience where customers can relax and spend more time with one another. 

Meanwhile, he told A+M that Cambodia "holds great potential" within the Indochina market. According to Loo, tea is more popular than coffee worldwide and Cambodia itself has a well-established heritage of tea drinking. 

"We draw from our good experience in Vietnam where Tealive has been extremely well-received in many cities. We acknowledged the entry of modern malls such as AEON and this has spurred the trend of modern tea-drinking culture. There’s tremendous room to grow for lifestyle tea culture. Tealive’s entry is at the right time and we will help escalate the tea-drinking culture among the youth in Cambodia," he explained. 

To raise brand awareness, Tealive will run a specially tailored marketing programme targeted during the first 90 days to offer its stores an early boost. According to Loo, partnering with an experienced and renowned franchise partner such as HSC Group offers Tealive "the edge in delivering breakthrough marketing supported by strong local market insights". Besides carrying out localised marketing in Cambodia, Tealive will also run brand building campaigns to raise overall awareness and brand affinity. The company believes that HSC Group's vast resources and network in Cambodia will help ensure its success. 

Oknha Sok Hong said the timing was ideal as Cambodians were now ready to accept modern tea culture. Various international brands have entered the market over the years and there is much room to grow.

"We’re both proud and excited to introduce Tealive to Cambodians as the brand’s positioning of affordable luxury and innovative products are exactly what young Cambodians want. With HSC’s local experience, we make a great team to bring this leading lifestyle tea brand for Cambodians to enjoy," he said. 

In addition to Tealive 3.0, the bubble tea brand has also innovated its offerings to launch Boba ice cream, spicy mi boba and bubble tea DIY kits. Loo said it will gradually move towards the FMCG and eCommerce space in future. He told A+M that Tealive is also investing heavily in resources and time towards digitalisation to keep pace with the shift towards online.

"Small or large, our breakthrough moments define us. They create opportunities, allow us to grow and have the mission to change the way how the community consumes tea. The entire Tealive brand is built on breakthroughs – from our diverse formats to innovative products, to the fact that consumers literally ‘breakthrough’ the lid of a Tealive with a straw to enjoy their drink," he said.

Tealive recently engaged retail home design firm Niro Ceramic Creative Lab as its official design consultant for all Loob Holding-owned and affiliated brands and outlets in Malaysia. Creative Lab will offer aesthetic enhancements as well as ergonomic improvements to the outlets. The partnership initially began with 27 outlets and will be extended to an additional 100 before the end of 2021. The collaboration comes as its Tealive 3.0 concept stores aim to take modern tea culture to the next level by featuring a dedicated bakery corner and a self-order standee at entrances.

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