Guan Chong Bhd (GCB) chief executive officer Brandon Tay Hoe Lian would probably know almost everything there is to know about cocoa, having been exposed to the cocoa business at a young age.
His family started the Johor-based Guan Chong group of companies, now one of the leading cocoa-derived food ingredients manufacturer in the country.
The group started trading cocoa beans under Guan Chong Food Industries Sdn Bhd (later known as Guan Chong Group Sdn Bhd) in 1982. It began processing cocoa beans in a plant in Muar, Johor, in 1983.
“My dad, uncles, cousins and brothers were involved in the business. In the 1980s, there was a large supply of cocoa in the country and the price was also very good,” Tay said.
Since then, the group has grown in size and now has two factories and three warehouses in the Pasir Gudang area. The group has 155 employees as at Oct 31, 2004.
GCB has three subsidiaries, namely Guan Chong Cocoa Manufacturer Sdn Bhd which produces cocoa-derived food ingredients, Guan Chong Trading Sdn Bhd which buys and sells cocoa beans, and Enrich Mix Sdn Bhd which manufactures blended cocoa-derived food ingredient mainly for the Japanese market. Enrich Mix is a 51% owned joint venture with Singapore-based SMC Food 21 Pte Ltd in 2002.
Tay said the group's main products were cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa cake and cocoa powder.
“Cocoa liquor and cocoa butter are mainly used to make chocolates while cocoa cake and cocoa powder, which come in various colours like light brown, brown, medium red and black are used in dairy and bakery products, instant drinks, confectioneries and chocolate drinks,” he said.
Tay said GCB promoted its products and visibility via its website as well as participate in trade missions and export exhibitions organised by the Malaysian Cocoa Board and Malaysia External Trade Development Corp. The group has attended trade exhibitions in Germany, France, United Arab Emirates, Britain and Brazil. It has also participated in trade missions organised by MCB to many countries such as Argentina, Chile, Ghana, Philippines, South Africa and Thailand.
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