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BUSINESS & TECH

Rival Instant Noodle Makers Eat Master Kong’s Lunch

By Li Yan, Zhang Lijuan and Coco Feng
Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp.’s Master Kong food empire has lost ground to competitors in the market for instant noodles — once a staple for students and migrant workers — as China’s economy transitions from manufacturing to services. A Tingyi worker mans the production line for Master Kong brand instant noodles in Tianjin in December 2009. Photo: Visual China
Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp.’s Master Kong food empire has lost ground to competitors in the market for instant noodles — once a staple for students and migrant workers — as China’s economy transitions from manufacturing to services. A Tingyi worker mans the production line for Master Kong brand instant noodles in Tianjin in December 2009. Photo: Visual China

Master Kong still has something to learn about the instant noodle business.

For well over a decade, the legendary brand’s owner, Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp., had a stranglehold on the instant noodle market in China, thanks to its extensive sales and marketing network.

At that time, Tingyi could get each new product it launched onto store shelves across China, from first-tier cities to the remotest villages, in a couple of weeks, said a former executive of Uni-President, one of Tingyi’s competitors. And the Tingyi product would always get premium shelf space.

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