Last year, you could find a dozen Auntie Anne’s pretzel stores in China. This year, you won’t find any.
After wading through one of the world’s biggest bureaucracies, all the while facing fierce competition and various cultural barriers, Wen-Szu Lin and his business partner decided to call it quits as Auntie Anne’s mainland China master franchiser.
“Even though we were doing OK, we decided to walk away,” Lin says.
Lin, now the international director of operations in Asia for FOCUS Brands International, serves a cautionary tale at a time when businesses see China as a land of limitless opportunity. While growth in China can indeed be a potential boon to business, many operators are finding that the growth comes with a unique set of headache-inducing challenges.
“Good brands will succeed and weak brands will not succeed. Chinese consumers are bright and they’re picky.”
Lin lays out several of these challenges in his book, The China Twist, which he plans to self-publish in December.
For example, in 2008, he was forced to destroy some 1,300 pounds of Auntie Anne’s caramel sauce after inspections determined that levels of the preservative sorbic acid were too high—even though U.S. testing showed perfectly acceptable levels.
A similar situation arose when regulators claimed the imported pretzel mix, which consists of only nondairy products like flour, salt, and sugar, contained bacteria only found in dairy products. If the product hadn’t passed a second inspection, Lin would have been forced to dump 42,000 pounds of the mix down the drain.
The franchisor managed to save the mix after calling friends and friends of friends—anyone with relationships inside the Chinese government. Inspectors eventually informed him that his second sample had passed, even though they had never collected a second sample.
It was a lesson learned. Lin says he and his business partner were always at a disadvantage when it came to business in China.
- 7 years agoFavorite Answer
去年，你能在中國找到十幾個阿姨安妮的椒鹽餅乾店。這一年，你不會找到任何。涉水通過世界上最大的官僚機構，都在面臨激烈的競爭和各種文化障礙之一後, 文賜林和他的合夥人決定叫它退出作為阿姨安妮的中國大陸主特許人。"即使我們在做確定，我們決定要走了，"林說。林，現在國際運營主管的亞洲品牌國際焦點，為一個警世服務企業將中國看成一個土地無限的機會一次。雖然中國經濟增長的確可以對企業來說可能是福音，許多運營商正在尋找增長附帶了一套獨特的頭痛的挑戰。"良好的品牌將成功和弱勢品牌不會成功。中國的消費者是光明的他們是挑剔。林勾畫出這些挑戰在他的書，中國扭曲，他計畫自行發佈在 12 月的幾個。例如，2008 年，他被迫摧毀一些 1300 磅的阿姨安妮的焦糖醬後檢查已確定的防腐劑山梨酸水準太高了 — — 儘管美國測試表明，完全可以接受的水準。監管機構要求的進口的餅乾組合，其中包括像麵粉、 鹽和糖，只有不加非乳制產品所包含的細菌只發現乳製品中時，就出現了類似情況。如果該產品沒有通過第二次檢查，林將被迫轉儲 42,000 磅的下水道的組合。特許權授予者設法保存混合後調用的朋友和朋友的朋友 — — 任何與中國政府的關係。視察員最終通知他過了他的第二個樣本，儘管他們從來沒有收集了第二個示例。這是一個教訓。林說他和他的生意夥伴總是不利的地位時，是有它來了到在中國的業務。"你