He said Ningxia, a halal hub for China, was chosen to expand Rotiboy brand as the company was looking to position itself as a halal food company and to tap the large Muslim population.
“We expect to finish the branding exercise and training programme by August and hopefully the production plant will be launched by this year,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the SME Business Conference 2013 here today.
Ningxia, an autonomous region of China, is located in the northwest and is being promoted as a halal food hub.
Tan said the venture into China would be Rotiboy Bakeshoppe’s wholly-owned business after Singapore unlike the expansion via franchise concepts in other countries, namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Korea and Indonesia.
He said Rotiboy Bakeshoppe is also looking to expand into the Middle East market, namely Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Jordan by this year through a master franchise agreement, which was signed last year.
“The five markets will be managed by one franchisee and the people who took our franchise are reputable there. They are now finding a good location before they can start…hopefully by this year,” Tan said.
He said Rotiboy Bakeshoppe is also looking to expand its brand into the North Africa market, namely Egypt, adding that the company is now in the midst of looking for the right partners and sharing the same values.
On the Malaysian market, Tan said the company hoped to grow in the local market by undertaking the franchise model after giving out four franchises in the past two years.
Currently, there are 18 outlets in Malaysia, with most of the outlets in the Klang Valley.
Established in Bukit Mertajam in April 1998, Rotiboy Bakeshoppe was the creator of the bun industry in Malaysia, and is also known for its freshly made cakes and high quality bread, especially the coffee bun.