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Diversified Wei-Chuan Foods Corp. master of chinese dishes and more.

A major force in Taiwan since the company's founding in 1953, Wei-Chuan Foods Corp. today is a highly diversified group employing over 4,500 people involved in much more than food manufacturing. Its holdings are also engaged in automobile distribution, electric and home appliance sales, printing, construction, transportation, computer services and retailing. Turnover was NT$ 8.48 billion in 1991.

Despite the wide scope of enterprises, Wei-Chuan's roots remain deep in the island's soil. From dairy products and baked goods to seasonings, sauces, juices and frozen foods, a solid agricultural base has been at the center of its growth strategy. As such, the company invested NT$ 800 million in a state-of-the-art frozen food factory in Taichung several years ago. Another plant is operational in Linkou, along with a facility in Taipei that makes ice cream and other products.

Among Wei-Chuan's specialties is a range of traditional Chinese convenience foods including meat, vegetable and mushroom dumplings, assorted wontons, fish- and meat-balls, bao zi pork and vegetable buns, and cha shao semi-sweet pork buns.

Backed by NT$ 30 million in annual television advertising support, sales of these products continue to rise throughout Taiwan. In addition to civilian retail markets, the foodservice and military sectors account for substantial volume.

The company has been active in producing Western-style bakery items since 1983, when it began putting to use technical knowhow received from Kobeya Baking Co., Ltd. of Japan. A decade later, it is producing everything from sophisticated, multi-layer pastries to a wide variety of breads and croissants -- much of which are baked off from frozen dough ingredients.

Wei-Chuan's well established food distribution arm led it to invest in retail and convenience store sectors. A 1986 joint venture with Masei of Japan gave rise to Sung-Ching Supermarket Co., Ltd., which now boasts nine stores. And an agreement with ARCO-USA brought 45 AM/PM Mini Market outlets to the island. In direct competition with the much larger Japanese-affiliated 7-Eleven chain, the 24-hour operations stock and serve hot and cold foods and drinks.

Meanwhile, the company continues to cultivate export markets, as it has done successfully for decades. Branches and subsidiaries are found in Japan and the United States, while agents are stationed in Hong Kong and Singapore. Wei-Chuan USA's suburban Los Angeles factory produces egg roll and mooshu skins, in addition to a host of ethnic sauces and oils. In South Carolina, its Golden Foods unit makes egg rolls. And the Finest Oriental Foods' Lotus brand of Chinese appetizers and entrees has achieved wide distribution in California.

Mindful of rising production costs in Taiwan, the strategic-thinking company's board of directors has invested in factories and sales outlets in mainland China. Chairman K.M. Huang, in a report to shareholders, listed the initial links of a "cross-nation enterprise network" as follows: an instant noodle factory in Fuchou, a glutamate plant in Kuilin, a milk powder factory in Beijing, the Mei-Lin plant in Shanghai, and outlets in seven major areas including Beijing and Shanghai.

Clearly, Wei-Chuan's long march toward new horizons has begun in earnest.
COPYRIGHT 1993 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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