Brothers squabble over Ji Xiang ang ku kueh name, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Brothers squabble over Ji Xiang ang ku kueh name

Yet another family business feud.

This time, it involves two brothers and an ang ku kueh shop.

The second-generation owner of Ji Xiang Confectionery, Mr Toh Aik Ming, wants it made known that the business only exists at Everton Park and does not have any branches.

He took out an advertisement in Shin Min Daily News to clarify that Ji Xiang is also called Ji Xiang Everton and to publish its website address.

Mr Toh, 48, and his brother Kelvin, 42, used to work at the Everton shop but the younger Mr Toh decided to leave after the two brothers fell out. 

He opened his own store in Bugis named Ji Xiang Ang Ku Kueh with the support of his parents, Mr Toh Poh Seek and Madam Toh Beong Yeo, who opened their shop at Everton Park in 1988.

In the first six to nine months after Kelvin opened his store, their mother would visit it every day to train the staff and provide technical instructions, Mr Toh told Shin Min.

He said that his younger brother had first positioned his store as a branch of the Everton Park shop, but their parents told him that they hoped he could make it clear on his store’s website that the two businesses were not affiliated.

However, Mr Toh claimed Kelvin told them that his partner was in charge of marketing the brand.

“Kelvin also believed that at the end of the day, the two of us are brothers from the same family, so there isn’t a need to draw the line so clearly between our businesses,” said Mr Toh.

The family chose not to pursue the matter further.

The brothers Mr Kelvin Toh (left) and Mr Toh Aik Ming (right) in a family picture.PHOTO VIA JI XIANG EVERTON’S WEBSITE

However, Mr Toh claimed they have been receiving complaints from customers about a drop in quality in Ji Xiang’s ang ku kueh. These were bought from “stores elsewhere”, they were told.

Telling Shin Min his side of the story, Kelvin said he would let his customers know that he’s the younger son of Ji Xiang’s founder if he was asked whether his stores were branches of the shop in Everton.

He refuted claims that his ang ku kueh was substandard and said: “We have always followed the old recipe, so the ang ku kueh sold at my stores should have no quality issues.

“However, if the customers bought the ang ku kueh from our retailers the day after they were made, then the taste would definitely not be as good,” he added.

He also revealed the reason behind his decision to strike out on his own – his parents and older brother were reluctant to modernise the family business.

“I used to work in the catering industry, and after 12 years of experience, I know that I have to rely on the Internet and innovation to attract customers,” he said.

“But my family didn’t want to change, so I had no choice but to do it myself. It took me several months just to convince my family to create a website and Facebook page.”

He also claimed that he has always been independent and that he has rejected his family’s attempts to give him financial support.

He said his aim was to create brand awareness of the business: “Now, I just want to spread the name of ‘Ji Xiang’ so that many more people can try our ang ku kueh.”