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Chatime Malaysia escalates dispute

Teahouse company Chatime Malaysia (CMSB) has issued a legal letter to Loob Holding for alleged misrepresentation and defamation by implying the brand had been replaced and renamed as Tealive.

CMSB group MD Aliza Ali says the letter was sent after Loob Holding’s official website “falsely indicated” that Chatime had been renamed to Tealive.

“Loob Holding deliberately misrepresented and misled the public that Chatime had been renamed and is now available as Tealive in Malaysia,” Aliza says. “This was done through headlines on the Loob Holding official website, particularly two headlines – ‘Chatime renamed as Tealive’ and ‘Tealive replaced Chatime’.”

She says CMSB has given Loob Holding one year to rectify the matter, but the two headlines remain on the website, being published just last month, leading the public to believe Chatime no longer existed.

“These misleading statements from Loob Holding have cost us our goodwill and our brand. As such, we felt obliged to address the confusion and safeguard Chatime’s reputation in both Malaysia, as well as at an international level,” says CMSB executive director Widayu Latiff.

Chatime Malaysia took over a year ago as the master franchisee in Malaysia for the Taiwan-based global franchise teahouse chain licensed from the global brand owner of Chatime, La Kaffa International.

Loob Holding CEO Bryan Loo, the former master franchisee for Chatime in Malaysia, was quoted early last year as saying there were a total of 165 Chatime outlets in the country. He also said that more than 95 per cent of the outlets had decided to quit the Chatime brand and adopt Loob Holding’s new brand, Tealive, for their bubble-tea products.

The La Kaffa and Loob Holding dispute dates from December 2016, when the Taiwanese company terminated the master franchise agreement between the two parties even though there was more than 20 years left on the deal, reports FMT. Loo reportedly lodged a police report over the sudden termination.

Both companies have taken their dispute to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

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