The company did not disclose the transaction fee at the buyer’s request, but a source familiar with the matter told ConfectioneryNews the deal is valued at 400m RMB, about $59m.
“We are constantly evaluating our business to improve efficiency and our long-term growth potential in China and globally,” said Jeff Beckman, Hershey’s spokesperson.
“China is one of the most important markets for Hershey globally, and the company has been committed to the China market for more than 20 years.
“We remain committed to the growth opportunities and market potential of our business in China. We have a long-term vision for China, and we are evolving our business with a clear strategy to drive sustainable, profitable growth in the future by resetting our business to respond to the changes in the market,” he added.
Beckman noted Hershey is undertaking a number of new products, packaging and marketing initiatives to drive growth in a “new era of chocolate” in China, as well focusing on e-commerce and product innovation.
“This year, we’ve launched a series of new products tailored for the China market including snack mix, the Marvel-themed Hershey’s milk chocolate drops and Hershey mooncakes,” he said.
Meet the buyer
Chinese confectionery trade body, China Candy, noted the buyer initially appeared to be Qisan Zhao (赵启三), the founder of Golden Monkey, on China’s state administration for industry and commerce website.
Beckman said that reports that Golden Monkey was sold to its founder was not accurate, and neither was the fact that Zhao is involved in Yuxiang Food Technology.
China Candy later clarified matters in a follow-up piece, saying the Chinese law requires the state business registration to revert to its original status online when foreign assets are sold to a domestic company.
But what kind of company is Yuxiang Food Technology?
According to China Candy, it was co-founded by Xi Zang Cang Ying (literally meaning Tibet Goshawk) Investment Management Company (西藏苍鹰创业投资管理有限公司) and Henan Province-based YOUSHI Foods (河南悠氏食品), which has become one of the biggest bakeries in central China over the past two years.
YOUSHI is also the designated co-manufacturer for some of the largest e-commerce snack firms, including Three Squirrel (三只松鼠) and Be & Cheery (百草味).
YOUSHI previously poached employees from Golden Monkey’s management team, including its current general manager, Wenzhong Cui (崔文中), who was the previous director of sales at Golden Monkey. Cui is expected to be the general manager of Golden Monkey after the Hershey sale.
China Candy also confirmed Yang Li (李旸), who founded YOUSHI in 2016, has been appointed as Golden Monkey’s new board of director.
Outlook for Golden Monkey
Li earlier noted Golden Monkey operates 200 SKUs, among which 40 of them account for 80% of the company’s overall sales.
In addition to confections, the company also runs a tofu-based snacking brand Munching Monkey (馋嘴猴), he said.
Moving forward, Li hopes to “revitalize the company’s glory” by targeting audiences precisely and by focusing on core brands and snacks.