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Last Sunday, heaps of Singaporean people had been queuing to get the last of their Gong Cha drinks before all 80 outlets turned into the homegrown brand, LiHo. 

Gosh, seems like all those long queue were for nothing as Gong Cha has recently announced its return to Singapore within the next few months in a “bigger, better, upgraded format”.

Kim Soomin, a partner at the Japanese private equity firm Unison Capital, which co-owns Gong Cha with founder Royal Tea Taiwan told The Straits Times, “We just want to make clear to our Singapore customers that we are not leaving the market and we plan to come back pretty soon.”

Well, this is certainly great news to Gong Cha fans in Singapore!

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Although the company hasn’t specified the number of outlets it plans to open in Singapore by the end of the year, Kim confirmed that it will be, “As many as we can. We are not in a rush to grow in terms of quantity.”

It is understandable why Gong Cha decided to return to Singapore, considering that the Singapore outlets of Gong Cha were bringing in about SGD30 million in annual revenue, making the country one of the top three largest Gong Cha consumers.

“Together with Korea and Taiwan, Singapore is one of the most strategically important and successful markets for Gong Cha’s growth so there’s no way we want to leave,” said Mr Kim.

The news of Gong Cha returning to Singapore is kind of similar to the drama between Chatime and Tealive in Malaysia, except that there is no bad blood between Gong Cha and LiHo.

Gong Cha’s former franchisee Mr Rodney Tang of RTG Holdings said that he is glad to know that the brand will be returning to Singapore.

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“The brand has a special place in the hearts of Singaporeans and I wish them all the best making it as big as we did in the last eight years.”

Meanwhile, Mr Kim commented, “We had a tremendous relationship with Rodney. It’s sad that things didn’t work out and we had to terminate that relationship, but I think both parties have to move on. “We are not here to compete with LiHo. It is not LiHo versus Gong Cha.”

Unison Capital and Royal Tea Taiwan are currently in discussions with potential partners for the return of Gong Cha.

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