PETALING JAYA: Chatime will be no more by March 6, says its outgoing franchisee Loob Holding.
In a press conference on Wednesday, its chief executive officer Bryan Loo said that the 165 outlets under his company will undergo a rebranding exercise and debut as a new local tea chain by early March.
This sets the stage for a bitter rivalry between Chatime and its Taiwanese backer and Loob's new tea chain.
"If they open a Chatime here, we will open an outlet next to them," Loo told journalists at a press conference at his company office in Kota Damansara.
Chatime franchiser La Kaffa International Co Ltd terminated its contract with Loob in early January, which was supposed to run until 2041.
Loob will also begin arbitration proceedings against La Kaffa International in Singapore, and Loo said that he intended to claim for any damage the termination had caused his company.
For now, the 165 Chatime outlets here will still remain as they are until March 6 – when the 45-day cooling-off period agreed upon by both companies ends.
After which, the outlets will be rebranded under a new name, though Loo said it would not differ significantly from the Chatime concept.
It will still sport a purple logo, albeit in a different colour scheme, and will still specialise in tea drinks, though Loo said Loob was now free to experiment with new beverages.
"We are no longer restricted to just bubble tea. We can also provide fresh juices and artisanal coffee," he said.
Malaysia accounts for more than half of Chatime's turnover recorded by the franchisor's reported 800 outlets worldwide.
Loo personally lodged a police report over the termination saying he was concerned about the loss of jobs over the termination of the franchise.
Loo said there had been disagreements and disputes over various business and operational matters in the past but these were all dealt with in accordance with the terms of the franchise agreement.