The Mao Shan Cafe, a franchised food retail network with a menu centred on durian – plans to open 200 outlets across Mainland China by 2022.
Mao Shan Cafes serve durian cakes, savouries, pastries, waffles, durian coffee and ice cream and other unique foods based on Malaysia’s Musang King strain of durians, targeting Chinese nationals who are passionate about the fruit.
In China, where whole durians are harder to come by, sales of durian-flavoured products have skyrocketed in recent years. Duerian imports have surged from 40 tonnes in 2011 to 368 tonnes in 2016.
A subsidiary of US private equity business The Funding Partners, Mao Shan Cafe also plans to collaborate with Chinese food delivery giants Meituan and Alibaba-owned Ele.me to further boost sales.
This year, 10 stores are planned for the Guangdong region and the first 100 in the company’s franchised network are expected to be trading by 2020. Sometime before the 200 threshold is reached, The Funding Partners plans to spin the company off in a Mainland China float.
The chain’s first flagship store opened last month, in a ceremony attended by celebrities including Hong Kong performing artist, Maria Cordero.
The Funding Partners has interests in Malaysia’s durian growing and export industry and saw the retail network as a way of expanding exports further to the mainland.
Robert Stockdill – Inside Retail Asia