Taiwan island-based snack maker Want Want sees surging sales over ‘patriotic’ comments
Published: Aug 08, 2022 11:47 AM
A live streaming room of Want Want Group

A live streaming room of Want Want Group

Taiwan island-based snack maker Want Want Group has seen surging popularity and sales in the Chinese mainland, after "patriotic comments" reportedly made by the company and its founder topped social media trending list last week amid public fury over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's provocative visit to the island.  

Want Want's official Douyin account "Wangzai Club" on Friday gained more than 16,000 followers. The company recorded 483,000 viewers for its livestream session on Friday, while its total sales amounted to 676,400 yuan ($100,035), according to data from Taobao Livestream sent to the Global Times on Monday. 

On Thursday, the number of viewers of the account was only 29,000, and retail sales totaled only 84,200 yuan.

Other Want Want-related accounts also saw a surge in sales. Livestreaming sales of one food factory store reached 1.48 million yuan on Friday, compared with a previous peak of 125,100 yuan.

The surge in sales and popularity came after a topic - "Want Want speaking out" - topped the trending list on Sina Weibo on Friday with 400 million views as of Monday. On Monday alone, the topic gained 13.31 million views.

Under the topic, many listed "patriotic comments" made by the company and its executives. Specifically, a verified Weibo account reportedly belonging to a son of founder Tsai Eng-meng posted a picture showing the Evil Queen in a Snow White cartoon holding a red but poisonous apple with the words "you go away" on Sina Weibo on July 28.

Many on social media took that as a thinly veiled reference to Pelosi. 

One Chinese netizen said that Want Want Group has never been ambiguous or hesitant in supporting the motherland, and it had taken the initiative to shoulder the responsibility of a large enterprise.

Chinese netizens also reposted previous remarks made by Tsai himself. In a video posted by the Weibo account of Changjiang Daily, Tsai said that "I want to be an upright Chinese… I am a Chinese. Is that not ok?" Many social media posts also pointed out Tsai's previous remarks about the importance of the mainland market to the success of Want Want Group.  

The Want Want brand was founded in 1983, and it arrived in the Chinese mainland to invest and set up factories in the early 1990s.

Want Want China Holdings saw a revenue of 23.96 billion yuan in 2021, a growth of 9.03 percent from the previous year, or more than 100 times compared to before investing in the Chinese mainland.