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China Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<1234567>> Total issues:68

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October 01, 2020, to May 01, 2021

Swire Coca-Cola Builds Bottling Infrastructure To Keep Pace With China’s Growth

Despite continuing uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, the Hong Kong-based Coke bottler is investing heavily in advanced production capabilities, digital supply chains, and ecommerce channels in China. Swire executives say China's resilient economy and stable social environment – not to mention its effective control of COVID-19 – have ensured a strong domestic consumption market, while supporting a global supply chain. Swire’s sales revenue surged 34 percent year-on-year in the first two months of this year, after it saw sales increase by two percent in 2020.

Stockholders Push Danone To Divest Stake In Chinese Dairy

According to reports, disgruntled Danone shareholders have pushed the company to sell its $2 billion stake in Mengniu dairy later this year to fund stock buybacks and boost shareholder returns. The announcement came hours before Danone’s board met to discuss its response to calls from investors such as Artisan Partners Asset Management for management changes. Danone Chairman Emmanuel Faber’s suggestion that he shed his CEO role was later approved by the board of directors. Danone first took a stake in Mengniu in 2013. Its 9.8 percent holding is held indirectly in a venture with COFCO Corp., Mengniu’s biggest shareholder. Danone said that China will remain highly strategic for the company following the sale. 

Siemens, Squire Coke China Launch Digitalization Initiative

The Munich, Germany-based technology company, centered on manufacturing, infrastructure, and transportation, will work with Swire Coca-Cola on digitalization of Swire’s plant construction, supply chain intelligent management, and training of digital talent. They will also jointly build digital plant benchmarks in the beverage industry to promote digital transformation of Swire Coca-Cola in China and around the world. The manufacturing information system (MIS) customized by Siemens for Swire Coca-Cola was applied to its digital production line in Hangzhou. Swire expects that the new initiative will result in an annual production capacity of 550 million cans of Coca-Cola.

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August 01, 2020, to October 01, 2020

Yili Now Ranks In Top Five Of World’s Dairy Companies, Rabobank Says

A survey by Dutch multinational banking and financial services company Rabobank ranked Chinese dairy producer Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., Ltd. (Yili) among the top five dairy producers in the world. According to Yili, Rabobank reported that it is one of the Asian companies “making major moves,” moving into the top five after year-on-year growth of nearly 20 percent. Yili reported a total operating income of 47.53 billion yuan ($7 billion) in the first half of 2020. Yili said recent data showed its current production and sales are “now fully recovered” from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coca-Cola’s Restructuring Aims To Streamline Operations Globally

As part of the comprehensive reorganization initiative announced last week, Coca-Cola is pruning its Africa business unit from the previous Europe, Africa & Middle East division and making it a distinct operation led by Bruno Pietracci, current Africa & Middle East business unit president. Europe will also stand on its own, led by Nikos Koumettis. The Middle East operations will be combined with Eurasia. Vamsi Mohan Thati, head of the South Pacific business unit, was appointed president of the Greater China business comprising mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Mongolia. South Korea will be paired with Japan as a single unit. Latin America, Europe, and North America will also have new operational leaders. Lastly, T. Krishnakumar, president of the India and Southwest Asia business unit, was named chairman of Coca-Cola India, and Sanket Ray, COO of the Mainland China business, was named president of India and Southwest Asia.

Nestlé SA To Sell China Water Business To Tsingtao

The Swiss company said the sale to Tsingtao Brewery Group, which will include local brand “Dashan Yunnan Shan Quan” and factories in Kunming, Shanghai, and Tianjin, is part of a strategic cooperation agreement with the Chinese brewer. Tsingtao will produce and market the Nestlé “Pure Life” brand in China as part of a licensing agreement. Financial details of the sale were not disclosed.

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June 01, 2020, to August 01, 2020

Chinese Consumers Spending More On Healthful Snacks

Thanks largely to the stay-at-home lifestyle enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, China's snack market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years with a major trend toward fresh and healthful food, according to Beijing-based think tank EO Intelligence. The sales volume of China's snack market will reach three trillion yuan ($429 billion) in 2020 and surpass four trillion yuan ($572 billion) in 2025. Seventy-one percent of survey participants said snacks are important to their physical and psychological health; and more than 85 percent of snack-loving Millennials said freshness and healthful qualities are priorities in choosing snacks. Another report by U.K.-based Barclays Bank said Generation Z consumers pay a lot of attention to snack nutrition and prefer plant food.

Nestlé SA Settles On Six Major Bidders For Yinlu Foods Group

The list of bidders for the company’s Chinese business unit was trimmed to six, including three food and beverage companies and three private equity firms. Yinlu Foods Group, a maker of instant porridge and Nescafe ready-to-drink coffee, could fetch at least $400 million. Binding bids are due by the end of August from China Resources Beer Holdings Co., Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding Corp., Dali Foods Group Co., FountainVest Partners, Affinity Equity Partners, and Citic Private Equity Funds Company management have also been invited to participate in the bidding. Yinlu, which specializes in the production and sale of canned foods and beverages, was acquired by Nestlé in 2011.

Food And Beverage Giant Wahaha Ponders Billion-Dollar IPO

Chinese beverage company Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. is considering an initial public offering that could raise more than $1 billion, Bloomberg reports. An adviser is working with the company on the IPO, which would probably take place in 2021. Wahaha markets products ranging from bottled water, yogurt drinks, and juice to instant noodles, sold in more than 30 countries, including Canada, Singapore, and the U.S. It maintains 80 production plants and employs about 30,000 workers. Bloomberg notes that Wahaha joins fellow Hangzhou-based beverage firm Nongfu Spring Co. in seeking a first-time share offering. Nongfu filed for its Hong Kong IPO in late April and plans to raise about $1 billion.

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February 01, 2020, to June 01, 2020

Danone’s New Plant-Based Sports Drinks, Powders Debut In China

Danone is targeting sports enthusiasts and exercise fans in China with a new plant-based sports nutritional beverage Vega One Sport and other Vega One plant protein powders sold online. Vega One has no artificial colors or artificial sweeteners, carries a U.S. non-GMO Certification, and has passed NSF Certified Sport international sports banned substance testing. Danone depends on China for at least ten percent of its global sales achieved a revenue growth of around 2.6 percent worldwide in 2019, The company hopes to increase plant-based sales worldwide from $2.19 billion in 2019 to around $5.5 billion by 2025. According to Nielsen, Danone led the world’s plant-based products in 2018.

Coca-Cola Expands High-Speed Bottling Capacity In Southwest China

Coca-Cola continues to lay the groundwork for expansion in the Chinese market with the opening of a high-capacity bottling facility in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. The new COFCO Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd (CBL) facility can make 120,000 cans an hour, making it the fastest fully automatic production line in the world, according to the company. The current industry average is between 66,000 cans and 90,000 cans every hour. The bottling line is also the only automatic production line in the global Coca-Cola system that can produce a variety of different packaging specifications at the same time. The company's first plant in China was built 21 years ago in Chengdu, where three new lines were built last year. CBL plans to accelerate production when the COVID-19 pandemic eases, increase investment in equipment renewal and technical transformation, and optimize and upgrade industrial capacity.

Coke Sets Up JV With Chinese Dairy Giant To Sell Chilled Milk

Coca-Cola has set up a joint venture with China’s Mengniu Dairy Co to produce and sell chilled milk in the country. The JV is “a reaffirmation of its long-term commitment to the Chinese market” the company said. It will look to make full use of the advantages of both companies, including dairy development and processing techniques, brand influence, and distribution channels. The partnership will create a portfolio of consumer-centric beverages, according to a Coca-Cola statement.

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December 01, 2019, to February 01, 2020

China’s Mengniu Dairy Buys Australia’s Lion Dairy From Kirin

Two weeks after Australian authorities conditionally approved Mengniu Dairy’s (China) acquisition of infant formula producer Bellamy, the company has agreed to buy Australian Lion Dairy & Drinks from Kirin Holdings for $407 million. The deal includes all white milk, milk-based beverages, yogurt, juice and water ice brands and assets, as well as Dairy & Drinks’ licensing agreement for the Yoplait brand. Mengniu will own Lion’s beverage unit’s international business and its share of the joint ventures with Vitasoy Australia Products and Capitol Chilled Foods Australia. The deal does not include Lion’s alcohol businesses in Australia and New Zealand, nor its Lion Little World Beverages firm.

Mythical Chinese Emperor Inspires New Range Of CBD-Infused Teas

Connecticut-based start-up Sh’nnong Beverage Company, co-founded by former PepsiCo exec Jill Beraud, has introduced a range of plant-based and CBD-infused iced teas in more than 500 Vitamin Shoppe stores in the U.S. Each Má Functional Iced Tea with CBD+ Natural Botanicals “elevates” the benefits of CBD infusion by combining it with nearly 20 herbs and spices “inspired by the original Má brews of Emperor Shennong,” a mythological deity in Chinese folk religion. The drinks, naturally sweetened and containing fewer than ten calories, are available in three CBD variants: focus, with ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, and rhodiola rosea; relax, with caffeine-free bai mudan tea blended with chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, elderflower, and passionflower; and detox with green tea, lemon, chamomile, schisandra berry, and dandelion root. Each flavor is available for $4.99.

Chinese Coffee Company Debuts Smart Vending And Coffee Machines

Beijing-based Luckin Coffee Inc. announced it has launched unmanned smart vending and coffee machines. The Luckin Pop vending machines will be placed in office buildings, bus terminals, airports, on college campuses, and at other locations. The smart vending machine and the Luckin Coffee Express machine are new channels in the "unmanned retail network" that Luckin is building. The company says the innovations eliminate payroll and rental costs, as well as other expenses. At the end of 2019, Luckin Coffee had 4,507 self-operated stores. Luckin stock has nearly doubled – up 96.3 percent – over the past three months. 

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August 01, 2019, to December 01, 2019

DuPont Nutrition Will Work With China’s By-Health To Develop Probiotic Supplements

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences is joining forces with a China-based consumer health care company to develop probiotic dietary supplements that offer “new functions, new ingredients and new technologies” in intestinal microecology and microbiome science. By-Health moved into the global market a year ago with its acquisition of Life-Space Group, an Australian enterprise that produces and markets probiotic products for all life stages. DuPont offers a range of clinically documented strains under its Danisco portfolio to support the body’s immune system including healthy digestion, and recently launched a range of enzymes designed to help maintain the quality of durum pasta “from pack to plate.”

Nestlé Looks To Sell Controlling Stakes In Chinese Beverage Company


Bloomberg reports that Nestlé S.A. may sell its controlling stake in two Chinese brands: Hsu Fu Chi, a local confectionery firm, and Yinlu, a beverage producer. Nestlé in 2011 padid approximately $1.7 billion for a 60 percent stake in Hsu Fu Chi, and $1.5 billion for a 50 percent interest in Yinlu. Nestlé acquired all of Yinlu in 2018. The company wants to sell its controlling stake in the two companies for more than $1 billion.

Coca-Cola Unveils BodyArmor Hydration Beverage On China’s Tmall Platform

Coca-Cola China is introducing a second hydration sports drink – Powerade debuted there earlier this year – using its Chinese language Tmall store. The company said that by introducing BodyArmor on Tmall it is taking advantage of China’s digital eco-system and range of e-commerce platforms “to expand our touch points with consumers.” BodyArmor is sold in the Coca-Cola Tmall store at premium retail prices of $15.30 for a pack of six bottles and $30.60 for 12 bottles. The regular variant comes in 11 flavors, including pineapple coconut and strawberry banana. Two other variants – BodyArmor Lyte and BodyArmor Sportwater are not yet available in China. Coca-Cola purchased a minority stake in BodyArmor in August 2018; it is managed by the company’s Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) investment unit.

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December 01, 2018, to August 01, 2019

U.S. Trade War Deters Suntory From Further Investment In China

Japan’s Suntory Holdings will delay further investment in China because of the uncertainties stemming from the U.S.-China trade war. CEO Takeshi Niinami said the company prefers to be in Southeast Asia rather than in China, and is bullish on India, the world’s largest whisky market by volume. The company is also adjusting strategies to sell to Millennials, who are drinking less alcohol than previous generations. To help sell alcohol to Millennials, Suntory is marketing more premium alcohol types. It is also trying to attract beer drinkers to consume more premium products. Although Suntory is still operating in China, Niinami said the company needs further clarity on the U.S.-China trade dispute before further investment decisions can be made. 

Suntory Joint Venture To Sell Health Foods To Affluent Chinese

According to sources, Suntory Holdings, which already sells whisky and soft drinks in China, has entered into a joint venture with Chinese government-affiliated conglomerate Citic to launch a health food business targeting affluent consumers. Suntory reportedly contributed 65 percent of the capital of (about $14 million), and sent an executive as its chief. Suntory will sell energy drinks online, and drip coffee through vending machines. Health supplements may be sold later.

Starbucks Competitor In China Takes Market Battle To Middle East, India

Flush with cash after raising $645 million through a U.S. IPO in May, Chinese coffee company Luckin Coffee is partnering with Kuwait-based Americana Group, which runs 1,900 franchises across the Middle East for several fast food brands, to set up a coffee retail business in the Middle East and India. Luckin and Americana signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing; they will run the new coffee business as a joint venture. Luckin Coffee is a major competitor of Starbucks in China, opening thousands of stores in the past two years and relying on technology for orders, deliveries and payments to give it an edge. The company has about 3,000 stores in 40 Chinese cities and plans to increase that number to 4,500 by the end of this year. Starbucks has a little under 3,800 stores in China. Starbucks has 202 stores in Dubai, 191 in Saudi Arabia, and 151 in Kuwait, as well as 146 stores in India, where it has partnered with conglomerate Tata.

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November 01, 2018, to December 01, 2018

Sephora Unveils A New And Interactive Concept Store in China

Sephora opened a new concept store in Shanghai on September 21, 2018 that encourages customers to explore its popular beauty products using interactive technologies like Discovery Tables and Magic Mirrors. SEPHORA Asia president Benjamin Vuchot states that the store offers an excellent customer service that combines the Sephora website with the in-store experience creating an unprecedented omni-channel experience. The store also uses the photo editing app, Meitu, alongside its interactive Ecommerce Walls and Virtual Artist technologies. Sephora is known for using disruptive ideas and technologies to promote creativity and diversity across its stores worldwide since its establishment in Paris in 1969.  

Beauty Brands Unveil Smart Concept Stores In China To Attract Tech-Savvy Consumers


SK-II and Sephora both unveiled smart concept stores in Shanghai to attract younger Chinese beauty consumers who prefer an engaging experience that can be shared on social media. The Japanese brand's "Future X" Smart Store uses facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence, working with JD.com that provided technological support. Separately, Sephora partnered with Meitu to create a concept store equipped with interactive e-commerce walls and virtual make-up artists. Emil Lanne of the marketing agency Huge that helped develop the SK-II stores cites the importance of having more colors and beautiful settings in building smart stores to attract younger shoppers. Both brands also use social media influencers to promote their stores.

Big Data And AI Helping Beauty Brands Identify Opportunities, Develop New Products

AI is being used to help companies spot unserved opportunities through analyzing online data such as searches, reviews and purchase patterns. Alibaba’s Tmall Innovation Centre helped L'Oréal China as it developed a male beauty line for the Chinese market, while A.S. Watson, which has 14,400 stores in 24 markets worldwide worked with Unilever to launch TRESemmé hair care in China Some smaller brands are using AI to developed personalized products and services.  Indian brand, Freewill, uses information about an individual’s hair to create personalized hair products, factoring in data such as city and weather. While Singapore-based Alcheme uses AI to analyze a customer’s selfie to assess skin conditions and select and create personalized skin care products.

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September 01, 2018, to November 01, 2018

Alibaba Deploys Blockchain Pilot To Ensure Food Authenticity

Alibaba is testing blockchain technology to track products and ensure food authenticity. It is working with two food products, one from Australia and one from New Zealand – and giving consumers the ability to scan a QR code to verify product authenticity. Fake food has long been a problem in China and Michigan State University estimates it costs the global food industry $40 billion per year.  First announced in March 2017, the goal of this blockchain integration is to “achieve end-to-end supply chain traceability and transparency to enhance consumer confidence and build a trusted environment for cross-border trade,” said Alibaba.  Investment in blockchain technology has doubled to $2.1 billion and industry projections see that expenditure reaching $9.7 billion in 2021, according to reports from IDC. Numerous firms, such as Alibaba’s industry rival JD, are also delving into blockchain tech to streamline the supply chain, auditing, and compliance processes.

KFC Initiative On Single-Use Plastic in Macau and Hong Kong

KFC outlets in Hong Kong and Macau will stop automatically giving out plastic straws and lids for customers eating in the store, but will provide them if asked. They will also be added to takeaways and select items. KFC made the decision following a trial in which most customers were happy not to have a plastic straw or lid. Greenpeace has acknowledged the move but added that plastic straws and lids are just a fraction of the plastic disposables used by the chain. The environmental group estimates that KFC uses some 42 million plastic disposable items each year, but even this is less than some local chains, according to Greenpeace.

Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetic Opens Shanghai Pop-Up Store, Marks Coming Into China Market

South Korean skincare brand Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetic has unveiled a pop-up store in Shanghai, marketing the company’s official entry into China’s beauty care market. According to AHC, its cosmetics products are being sold at health and beauty stores across China, as well as in online shopping malls in the country. With the pop-up store offering customers the chance to experience the company’s leading products, AHC said it will target women in the country with its leading moisturizing products.

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February 01, 2018, to September 01, 2018

Alibaba Cloud Creates System For Raising Better Hogs

Alibaba Cloud has developed ET Agricultural Brain, an artificial intelligence-enabled platform for helping agricultural enterprises, including hog farmers, in China. Proprietary in design, the system is aimed at helping farmers to improve their livestock raising and crop production through innovations. With a special focus on hog farming, ET Agricultural Brain uses algorithm-based models to develop an “exercise regimen” for pigs to improve their health, as well as their piglet yields. China is the world’s largest producer of pork, according to data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. It also accounts for half of the world’s pork consumption, data from Singapore-based DBS showed.

China’s Beverage Industry Is Strong, Growing

New players in China’s beverage manufacturing industry, coupled with rising exports in alcohol, drink, and refined tea, contributed to rising revenue and profit, according to a China-based consulting firm. Profit rose 25.2 percent in the first five months of 2018 to $12.5 billion, while revenue rose 10.8 percent year-on-year to around $99.6 billion. The industry’s ongoing structural reform was a major contributor to success, according to the consultant. New players include fruit grower Pagoda, which has collaborated with Sichuan Chia Meei, a subsidiary of Taiwan fruit business firm Chia Meei. Pagoda’s non-fruit concentrate (NFC) juices, sold under the brand “Hou Guo Zi,” reaped 6.6 million within three days of launch. Another China fruit grower, Chu Cheng Company, is expected to launch NFC products by the end of the year. Dairy milk producers, including Yili and Mengniu, are doing well, though trailing NestlÄ— and Danone. Jia Duo Bao (JDB), known as China’s Coca-Cola, expects two-digit sales growth this year.

Meitu Opens Meivolution Festival Highlighting AI Technologies For Beauty Applications

Meitu Inc., developer of an online beauty ecosystem with 450 million users, launched its first Meivolution Festival in Shanghai, China. Combining the Chinese character Mei, which means beauty, with the English word evolution, the event marks the first time the company hosts an offline event. During the festival, Meitu users can join their communities and friends using photography, augmented reality, and image optimization technologies offered by the company. Also, during the event, Meitu will highlight technologies, including artificial intelligence for testing skin quality and providing make-up tips.
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