Universal Robina Corporation has proven itself as a true multinational company, with consumer products that are now mainstays on millions of shelves across the globe.
Among the company’s market leaders abroad are its Fun-O biscuits and Tivoli wafers in Thailand, and its C2 ready-to-drink brewed tea, which is a top seller in Vietnam.
Beloved by Filipinos for generations, it should come as no surprise that URC products would also perform well in international markets. “We have the passion for producing great products and great global brands,” said Irwin Lee, URC’s president and CEO.
Among the main reasons for URC’s strong performance in markets abroad are its distribution networks anchored on strong ties with their retailers. In Thailand, for instance, its subsidiaries directly service 7-Eleven outlets, as well as supermarkets operated by Makro, Tesco Lotus, and Big C, apart from having wholesalers and roving sales staff.
URC’s products are exported across the globe, reaching consumers in the Americas, the European Union, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
Another factor for URC’s growing success abroad is the superb quality of its products, which all meet the highest standards wherever they are sold. The company’s global facilities are also ISO- and HACCP-certified. Raw materials are rigorously tested, and only suppliers and distributors with proven track records in quality and efficiency are used.
URC's global expansion first began in the early 1970s, when it entered Hong Kong. In the 1980s, it put up its first overseas factory in Malaysia. In the same decade, the company entered Singapore, where it now offers popular snacks such as Potato Chips, Roller Coaster, Dewberry, Cream-O, and Magic.
Since first setting foot in Thailand in 1992, it has set up six production plants and research facilities there to sell biscuits, wafers, candies, and snacks, both domestically and for export. This was followed by Indonesia in 2002, where it now has two factories and over 700 employees.
URC began its operations in Vietnam in 2004 and introduced C2 in 2006. URC Vietnam now runs five manufacturing facilities with over 1,500 employees, producing Dynamite candy and Cream-O cookies, among others.
In more recent years, the company set up operations in Myanmar in 2015, where it produces and sells cookies, crackers and wafers under the Fun O and Magic brands.
URC is also present in China, where it sells cereal, oats, chips, and coffee under the Aces brand. In Hong Kong, it offers snacks, chips, chocolate bars, cookies, coffee, biscuits, and muesli bars.
“We capitalized on lifted trade barriers to realign capabilities and manufacture products where economies [of scale] exist,” said Lee.
Lee added that once operations in markets abroad began, URC quickly managed to achieve synergies and make better use of the assets it acquired.
The company then worked on using only quality materials in its operations while still keeping costs down via strategic regional procurement.
URC’s products are exported across the globe, with Piattos, Chippy, Roller Coaster, Mang Juan, C2, Great Taste, and Magic faring well in the Americas, the European Union, and the Middle East. Their immense success is due in large part to the substantial presence of overseas Filipinos in these regions.
Today, the company’s reach even extends to Mongolia, East Africa, and the Pacific Islands.
Despite its strong and still expanding global presence, URC was not immune to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Lee says has been challenging.
“Everyone across the globe has been affected. Naturally, our markets abroad also went through difficult times, as various forms of quarantine restrictions were put in place,” said Lee. However, on a highly positive note, he added, “but we’re happy to report that we’ve managed to adjust and cope with this new normal. We’ve minimized both disruptions to our operations and the impact the restrictions and the ensuing downturn have had on our workforce.”
Triumphantly rising above the challenges, Lee said URC remains focused on maintaining product quality and ensuring ample supply to please all of its customers, wherever they may be.
For more information on URC, visit urc.com.ph