Tue, 30 May 2023



Philippine’s billionaire Frank Lao takes 35% stake in Malaysian homegrown brand ZUS Coffee
Published on: Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Philippine’s billionaire Frank Lao takes 35% stake in Malaysian homegrown brand  ZUS Coffee
From left to right: Terence Ho, Co-Founder of ZUS Coffee, Ian Chua, Co-Founder of ZUS Coffee, Janica Lao, Head of Choi Garden Group, Venon Tian, COO
Kuala Lumpur: Philippine’s billionaire Frank Lao, the guy behind two of the country’s most well-known restaurants, Gloria Maris and Choi Garden, is expanding his portfolio by investing in ZUS Coffee, a Malaysian tech-driven coffee chain.

Janica Lao, chief operating officer of the Choi Garden restaurant company has inked a deal to buy a 35% stake in ZUS Coffee.

The signing ceremony took place in Malaysia last week.

The agreement was signed with ZUS Coffee co-founder Ian Chua.

Janica said that the Choi Garden group intends to grow into the Philippines and that ZUS Coffee is a natural fit for their plans.

Frank Lao previously purchased Gloria Maris and Hai Kang seafood restaurants in Greenhills back in 2020. Janica is leading the Choi Garden group's expansion efforts, having successfully launched Spanish eatery Perro Chikko, Boba Girl Milk Tea, and Beard Papa's.

"We aim to introduce ZUS Coffee to the Philippines. ZUS Coffee is not looking at franchising; all their stores are owned by the company, and they aim to be the local champions. ZUS Coffee’s growth in Malaysia has been very quick in the last three years and they are incredibly determined in serving the local Malaysian market with localised flavours. We believe that they will do the same thing in the Philippines market," Janica explained.

Ian Chua expressed his great excitement in starting this new project with the Choi Garden group.

“We are quite proud of our coffee, and we could not be happier that a well-known businessman like Frank Lao has invested in our business. This demonstrates how confident they are in our brand. We can now start a new journey to scale up the business and bring ZUS Coffee to the Philippines thanks to the Choi Garden group investing in us. This is an extremely exciting time for us to grow the company. It is just the beginning for ZUS Coffee,” he said.

ZUS Coffee is a cup of clean, consistent, and well-handled coffee. With the best quality ingredients, high-level coffee brewing technology, and an innovative business model, we are evolving the concept of coffee consumption to make specialty coffee affordable for everyone.

ZUS Coffee opened its first store in Malaysia in 2019. The company currently owns 197 locations across the country, with over 30 million cups delivered to date.

The brand has been rapidly expanding in Malaysia with its innovative business model of offering affordable quality products, Instagram-worthy freestanding cafés, and an automated app-based ordering and delivery system.

More than 1.5 million individuals had downloaded the app as of March 20, 2023, and there are currently over 800,000 active users every month.

Ian Chua said that the company is working to increase the number of app users through various promotional initiatives.

"We have a few incentives available through the app that encourages customers to drink our coffee and tell their relatives and friends about it," he said.

According to Ian Chua, the company wants to open up to 150 units in strategic areas around Malaysia this year.

"We are optimistic about the coffee market and about our company's growth. We only have our ZUSsies and our 100 per cent Malaysian employees to thank for all our achievements thus far. We are finding that more and more people are loving our coffee, and they are requesting that we make it available in more locations and provide additional food at the counter. We will be introducing hot food to tempt their taste buds," he added.



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