Singapore’s Ya Kun Kaya Toast shuts Nanjing outlet over ‘Taiwan’ reference

A Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlet in Singapore in a photo dated Oct. 7. Photo: Ya Kun Kaya Toast/Facebook
A Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlet in Singapore in a photo dated Oct. 7. Photo: Ya Kun Kaya Toast/Facebook

A Singaporean coffee chain in China is closed today after it came under fire for showing a video listing Taiwan as a country. 

The outlet at the Golden Eagle Shopping Mall in Nanjing was closed Monday when Chinese authorities launched an investigation into whether it violated advertising laws, the state-run Global Times reported today. A photo of the promotional video boasting the business’ global reach, including in the disputed territory, has been circulating online. 

“Our over 40 retail stores in 10 countries overseas have all been warmly welcomed,” the shot of the video said, with a photo of a cup of black coffee and a list of 10 places including Taiwan, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. 

Ya Kun is a heritage brand in Singapore, having been around since before the country gained independence, and is known for serving traditional coffee and toasts with kaya and butter spreads. It is reportedly owned by businessman Adrin Loi, the son of founder and Hainanese immigrant Loi Ah Koon. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The outlet’s manager was also placed under investigation, according to the same report, while other Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlets in Nanjing have denied playing the video. 

The Chinese government considers Taiwan part of its territory and earlier this month flew hundreds of combat aircraft into its air defense zone. Its provocative behavior has been paired with aggressively policing the way people around the world talk about the territory, even prompting wrestler-actor John Cena to apologize earlier this year for calling it a country. 

Screenshot of video taken from Sina Weibo.

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