FamilyMart in China: The Divorce of a 20-Year International Partnership?
A dramatic dispute between two partners was about to push their long-time, successful international alliance to the verge of collapse. FamilyMart Co. Ltd. (FamilyMart) Japan and Taipei-based Ting Hsin International Group (Ting Hsin) had collaborated through a brand licensing arrangement to develop and operate FamilyMart convenience stores in mainland China for nearly 20 years. With FamilyMart stores topping the ranking of foreign convenience store brands, the collaboration appeared quite successful. However, on May 15, 2019, breaking news swept through the business media announcing that FamilyMart Japan had sued Ting Hsin in court and requested a compulsory dissolution of their partnership. A fierce feud between the two partners ensued, and an uncertain fate was closing in on the co-operation. With their 20-year brand licensing arrangement coming to an end in just a few months, both partners had to contemplate whether to extend the partnership and, if so, how to renegotiate the terms. Lucas Liang Wang is affiliated with University of Nottingham Ningbo, China.