The Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation: To ‘Join the Ranks of Global Companies’

Peer reviewed: 
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Final version published as: 

Jappe Eckhardt, Jennifer Fang & Kelley Lee (2017) The Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation: To ‘join the ranks of global companies’, Global Public Health, 12:3, 335-350. DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2016.1273366.

Date created: 
DOI 10.1080/17441692.2016.1273366
Tobacco industry
Global business strategy
Tobacco control

Until the late 1990s, the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation (TTL) focused almost exclusively on serving the domestic market as a highly protected monopoly. This paper describes how the company has adopted a more outward looking strategy since 2000, with ambitions to become a regional, and eventually global, business by 2021. Drawing on company documents and industry sources, the paper argues that this shift in strategy was a direct reaction to the decline in domestic market share following liberalisation of the Taiwanese tobacco market and adoption of tougher domestic tobacco control measures. Market opening occurred as a result of pressure from the U.S. Trade Representative in the 1980s, as well as World Trade Organization membership in 2002. It is argued that TTL's efforts to globalise operations have been limited by bureaucratic company management and structures, and ongoing political tension between Taiwan and China. However, the relative success of TTL's alcohol branch, and potential détente as the Taiwanese government reaches out to improve relations with China, may provide TTL with new opportunities to achieve its goal of becoming a regional player with global ambitions. This article is part of the special issue 'The Emergence of Asian Tobacco Companies: Implications for Global Health Governance.'

Document type: 
National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health