Taiwan Snack King Gains Amid China Economic Recovery

Sales and profit at Taiwan-headquartered Want Want China Holdings posted double-digit gains in the six months to September amid economic recovery in mainland China, its main market.

Want Want, lead by Taiwan’s second-richest man Tsai Eng-Meng, said on Thursday sales increased by 10.7% to 10.3 billion yuan, or $1.5 billion; net profit rose by 20.9% to 1.9 billion yuan.  (See details here.)

Hong Kong-traded shares in Want Want, which competes in China with the likes of Pepisco, rose by 4.6% to a three-month high of HK$5.67 after the earnings announcement.

Want Want’s gains follow mainland China’s success — at least for now – in insulating its economy from the worst of the global pandemic. After a year-on-year decline earlier this year, GDP increased by 4.9% in the third quarter, according to the government. Crowded airport buses, cramped subways and many elements of pre-pandemic life are back to normal or nearly so in major cities such as Shanghai, though public transport users wear face masks.

Tsai has a fortune worth $5.8 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today. Taiwan’s richest man is Terry Gou, founder of Hon Hai Precision, whose fortune is worth an estimated $6.7 billion today.

Tsai, 63, took over his father’s food business at age 19, and came up with an idea for a new item: crackers made from rice flour. Want Want China has since turned itself into one of the world’s largest makers of Chinese-style beverages and snacks. 

The company went public in Singapore in 1996; delisted there in 2007, and went public again in Hong Kong in 2008. Sons Wang-Chia and Kevin, along with nephew Cheng Wen-Hsien, are members of Want Want’s board of directors.


The family’s media business, which isn’t part of Want Want China, suffered a setback this week when a Taiwan regulator decided not to renew a license for a news channel (see link here).

See related story here:

China’s 400 Richest: Mainland Wealth Soars Amid Pandemic


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