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  • Home > News > Details
    A recipe for success

    "These days, consumers are much more adventurous. Consumers are willing to try new exotic tastes and starting to experiment with Oriental flavors and ingredients in their kitchens".

    Chong says that over the past five years, Lee Kum Kee sauces have expanded into mainstream British supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Morrisons, most of which stock about 30 different sauces in their chain stores in the UK. The brand offers around 60 sauces in the UK.

    "With world food development as a major retail trend (for British supermarkets), all professional retailers were looking for the right brands to offer better selections for their shoppers, and we captured the opportunity," Chong says.

    In the past year, Lee Kum Kee has also begun to supply mainstream restaurants, professional caterers and food manufacturers.

    Lee Kum Kee's profile in recent months also received a big boost among the UK public when its subsidiary LKK Health Products Group bought London's landmark commercial property 20 Fenchurch Street for £1.28 billion ($1.68 billion; 1.43 billion euros), which marked the largest single commercial property transaction in the UK.

    Although the deal was aimed at capturing rental income and stable capital appreciation, the transaction nonetheless increased awareness of the Lee Kum Kee brand in the UK.

    Lee Kum Kee is a brand that grew big from humble beginnings. Its journey of growth and internationalization is also a fascinating story of how a Chinese family business strengthened through the generations.

    Lee Kum Kee was established in 1888 by Lee Kum Sheung, a chef at a small eatery that sold cooked oysters in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. However, the family moved to Macao in 1902 after his production lines were razed by fire. His third son, Lee Siu-nam, took over the business in 1920 and opened a branch office in Hong Kong in 1932, later moving the headquarters to Hong Kong.

    After gaining domestic market share, the brand started expanding overseas in 1920, targeting the overseas Chinese population. Lee Waichung, the fourth-generation heir of the family business, is now chairman of the company.

    Although the brand's private shareholding nature means its revenue is not publicly disclosed, its success and scale can be imagined, given that it now has sales in more than 100 countries, together providing more than 200 flavors of sauces.

    Perhaps one factor that supported its international expansion success is the company's willingness to invest in corporate social responsibility projects, which shapes its brand image in consumers' minds.

    The Healthy Chinese Cooking Ambassadors program in the UK is one such example. Another is its $21 million donation to Harvard University to fund the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness, which conducts research on topics including relationships, employment and exercise and their links to health.

    In the UK, the improvement in quality and popularity of Chinese cuisine in recent years also provided fertile ground for the growing popularity of Lee Kum Kee oyster sauces.

    Many Chinese chefs are also becoming celebrities in the UK. One is 37-year-old Ching He Huang, well known for transforming the British public's perception of Chinese food with her popular BBC cooking show Chinese Food Made Easy in 2008. She has also written six Chinese cookbooks.

    © Copyright 2017 Invest in Guangzhou
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