Public outcry results in boycott against Ting Hsin

By John Liu ,The China Post

As products of Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團) have been named in all major food scandals that surfaced in Taiwan over the past year, a public movement has taken shape, calling for a boycott on all products and services provided by the company. In order to facilitate the boycott effort, a comprehensive list of products and services provided by Ting Hsin has been prepared by local netizens. Via the Line messaging app and Facebook, the list has gone viral in recent days. In addition to food products, distribution and telecommunication businesses run by Ting Hsin are on the list as well. Some analysts believe Ting Hsin is now facing an existential challenge. Ting Hsin acquired food company Wei Chuan Foods Corporation (味全) in 1998, and in the following year, the Wei Chuan Dragons, a professional baseball team owned by Wei Chuan, was disbanded. Some believe that Ting Hsin’s lack of support toward the team resulted in the disbandment. One netizen’s post reads: “Ting Hsin hurts my favorite team Wei Chuan Dragons, which I just have to accept… at least I have a good memory. But today you hurt my heart as well as my body… and I can only say ‘no’ to you. I will longer endorse your products like a fool.” Ting Hsin has a reinvestment business in Taiwan Star Cellular Corp. (台灣之星). With domestic telecommunication firms competing head-to-head on the new 4G technology, and given Taiwan Star’s relatively smaller scale, the company risks being marginalized by bigger players Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile (台灣大) and Far EasTone (遠傳電信). As Taiwan Star is now on the boycott list, how the company will respond to overcome future challenges remains to be seen.

Involvement in All

Major Food Scandals Ting Hsin was involved in all food sandals over the past year. In November 2013, the chairman of Ting Hsin was indicted on fraud charges because of mislabeled products in connection to oil purchased from Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co (大統長基), which used illegal coloring agent copper chlorophyllin in its olive oil. In September of this year, Ting Hsin’s products were once again named in a tainted oil scandal, when an oil company based in Pingtung allegedly used gutter oil to produce cooking oil, which was then supplied to a number of companies. On Oct. 9, prosecutors launched an investigation saying that Ting Hsin unit Cheng-I Food Co. is being investigated over the possible mixing of animal feed oil with cooking oil, which was then sold for human consumption.

Ting Hsin CEO’s

Letter to Employees In the wake of the latest scandal, Ting Hsin CEO Wei Ying-chung (魏應充) announced his resignation on Oct. 9 and yesterday sent a letter to his employees. In the letter, Wei said that “as a major food company, we have no right to be pessimistic, and I sincerely hope that all colleagues will not be discouraged or flinch. As long as we stand united to face the challenge, Wei Chuan will get better, and in the end, with better quality and insurance, we will win back the consumers’ trust.”