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Japan’s Calbee admits mistake in Philippine JV partner

Japanese snack producer Calbee admitted that it made a mistake in choosing rival Universal Robina as partner for its failed Philippines potato chip joint venture, but said it would now focus on Indonesia and China to build on its presence in the region.

“Universal Robina has its own brand, with the same salesmen dealing with both labels,” Makoto Ehara, executive vice president of Calbee, told the Nikkei Asian Review. “It sells its own product rather than the combined brands. It is difficult to fully count on a player in the same industry which has similar products.” This resulted in both brands competing in the same market, he said.

Calbee set up its joint venture with Universal Robina, one of the largest food and beverage groups in the country, in April 2014 and launched products including potato chips and fries in 2015.

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