Taiwanese rush to show local bakery support after it says it's stopping pastry exports to China

Flooded with five-star reviews for their pineapple cakes.

Yen Zhi Yi | December 14, 2022, 11:29 AM

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A Taiwanese pastry chain Chia Te Bakery, known for its pineapple cakes, announced on Dec. 12 that it would halt its exports to China, in response to the requirement that certain documentation has to be provided by the chain to renew its import registration.

This sparked off a mini spat on its Google review page where Chinese users, incensed at the bakery's non-compliance with China's import regulations, gave one-star ratings to the bakery.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese supporters responded with five-star ratings, leaving comments such as “excellent pineapple cake!” and “I support the store’s approach (in stopping its exports to China)".

Images via Google review screenshots (as of Dec. 13)

Hard to re-apply for import registration

The documentation required in order to re-apply for import registration apparently includes proprietary information such as the proportion of ingredients used for its pastries, how big their factory is, how many staff they have, and other company secrets, according to a staff interviewed by SET News.

"It felt like they (China) didn't really want us to succeed in registering," the bakery's boss said. "It sounds bad to say that they are deliberately making things difficult for us (Taiwanese companies), but anyway, it's just much more troublesome now."

According to SET News, it was much easier previously to apply for import registration to China, but as the new procedures now require the input of specific details, which the bakery find hard to handle, they ended up giving up applying for the permit.

Focus on operations in Taiwan

The bakery subsequently announced on Facebook that they will stop their pastry exports to China, and focus on their operations in Taiwan instead.

They said they had their origins in Taiwan, and is deeply rooted in Taiwan , and added that regardless of whether they export to China or not, the goal of their business will not be affected.

Taiwanese social media users supportive of the move left comments under the bakery's announcement.

One user commented, "I support Chia Te Bakery, may your business flourish. The negative reviews were part of a political conspiracy, no company in the world will disclose company secrets."

Another user reveals that they have been a loyal customer for 30 years, and criticised those who responded negatively to the boss's "honest and sincere" statement.

At the time of writing, the Facebook post has garnered more than 24,000 likes and 1,900 shares.

Previous suspension of imports from Taiwan to China

On Dec. 9, China suspended the import of Taiwanese beer and certain alcohol drinks, which comes after a prior import ban on seafood based on a newly introduced import registration system. This new system was implemented in April 2021.

Kuo Kuo-wen, secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), commented on Dec. 12 that the import bans targeted Taiwanese exporters by “imposing unreasonable conditions”, the Taipei Times reported.

He also added that only Taiwanese companies were required to submit hard copies of registration documents to Chinese customs authorities, while those of other places had more leeway and an extended deadline.

A Chinese official was previously quoted saying that many foreign exporters had failed to include mandatory information for registration, and therefore were unable to secure approval to ship their goods, according to the Taipei Times.

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Top images via Chia Te Bakery's Instagram and Facebook pages