Wu Pao Chun outlet to open in S'pore next year

Popular Taiwanese baker Wu Pao-chun is keen to use local ingredients in Singapore, such as curry spices and durians.
Popular Taiwanese baker Wu Pao-chun is keen to use local ingredients in Singapore, such as curry spices and durians.PHOTO: WU PAO CHUN

BreadTalk signs joint venture deal to run Taiwanese brand

The BreadTalk Group expects to open the first Wu Pao Chun bakery in Singapore in Capitol Piazza next year, after yesterday signing a joint venture agreement to operate the Taiwanese brand in the Republic and Hong Kong.

BreadTalk has taken an 80 per cent stake in the joint venture, with Wu Pao Chun Food holding the rest.

The two companies entered into a similar partnership in March to operate bakeries in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Wu Pao Chun, which is named after its founder, operates three flagship stores in the Taiwanese cities of Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. Its popular products include the Taiwan Longan with Red Wine Bread and Taiwan Litchi Rose Champion Bread.

BreadTalk Group chairman George Quek, in a statement yesterday, said the flagship Wu Pao Chun bakery in Shanghai is scheduled to open in November. "We look forward to leveraging our market knowledge of Singapore and Hong Kong to serve our fans in these cities with Wu Pao Chun's award-winning bread series," he added.

In May, speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Quek said he was not worried about whether Wu Pao Chun would affect the popularity of his own bakeries.

He said: "This is a collaboration... I don't see him as competition."

Mr Wu, the bakery's founder, was born in Pingtung county in Taiwan.

The youngest of eight children, he was 17 when he started out as a baking apprentice in various bakeries, before getting the opportunity to participate in bread-making competitions when he was 26.

He won the title of Master Baker at the Masters de la Boulangerie, or Bakery Masters, in Paris in 2010, with his lychee and rose bread.

The same year, he opened his first store in Kaohsiung. In 2013, he opened another one in Taipei, and last year, he opened his third store in Taichung.

Mr Wu was introduced to the BreadTalk Group about four years ago by Din Tai Fung chief executive Yang Jihua.

In a March interview with The Straits Times , Mr Wu said: "I had no intention of expanding Wu Pao Chun overseas at that point. I was more concerned about stabilising my business.

"But we became more familiar with each other over the years. I have been approached by other parties to expand, but many were not in the bakery business, and some were not even in the food business."

He added that he was keen to use local ingredients in Singapore, such as curry spices and durians.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline 'Wu Pao Chun outlet to open in S'pore next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe