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October 25, 2013

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Bakery accused of using Japanese cake maker’s recipe for success

A POPULAR bakery is being investigated over allegations that it is impersonating a Japanese brand and falsely claiming that a chat show host endorses its cakes.

Japanese bakery Rikuro Ojisan, which is famed for its cheesecake, has issued a statement saying that it had no outlets outside of Japan.

This followed media reports about a Chinese chain bearing the Rikuro name which has 10 outlets, including shops in Shanghai, Nanjing in Jiangsu Province and Fuzhou in Fujian Province.

The chain is very popular — with cheesecake a specialty — frequently attracting long queues of customers in the city.

Shanghai Ruikulu Investment Management Co Ltd, which was registered in June, owns the Chinese bakeries named Rikuro, said the Pudong New Area Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau.

However, checks by the media could not find the name Rikuro on the website where all brands registered on China’s mainland are listed.

Bureau officials said an investigation is under way and the company will face penalties if irregularities are found.

Part of the Chinese Rikuro’s appeal is through promotional material indicating its cakes are recommended by Taiwan talk show hostess Dee Hsu, whose “KangXi Lai Le” show is popular with viewers on China’s mainland.

But doubts have been cast over this since the Fujian-based Southeast Express newspaper said a cake that featured in Hsu’s show was actually made by another baker.

However, the link to Hsu was still succeeding in bringing customers to a Rikuro outlet at Reel Department Store in Jing’an District yesterday.

As she chose her purchase, a white-collar worker surnamed Li said she had been attracted to Rikuro by its reputation and celebrity associations.

Explaining her choice of cake, Li said, “Dee Hsu recommended this cake in her show.”

Meanwhile, a 65-year-old retired teacher, surnamed Wang, said the queues outside Rikuro convinced her that she had to sample the cheesecake.

“When I arrived, there were queues waiting to buy cakes, and I thought they must be really tasty,” she said.

The bureau said the company has been asked to submit promotional material as it is suspected of false advertising.



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