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Alliance Boots Announces Plan To Expand Presence In Asia

March 30, 2012: 02:35 AM EST
UK-based pharmacy and beauty retail chain Alliance Boots announced its expansion plans in Asia for the next five years. Prevented from acquiring more companies in UK and Europe by the European Union's anti-trust rules, the company has shifted its focus on the Asian market currently limited to Thailand, where the company recently opened its 200th store, and China, which recently revised its rule prohibiting foreign retailers from owning more than 30 stores to allow more foreign investment.
"Boots on the ground in Asian beauty expansion scheme", Bangkok Post, March 30, 2012, © The Post Publishing PCL
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China Business
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Pharma
Retail
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
China
Thailand

Procter & Gamble Cuts Costs, Shifts Focus To Emerging Markets

March 21, 2012: 03:04 AM EST
Procter & Gamble said it plans to invest all money to be saved from its recently announced $10 billion cost-cutting plan in emerging markets, such as China and India, to close the gap with long-time competitor Unilever in these countries. After cutting about 5,700 jobs elsewhere, P&G plans to increase hiring in India and China, build more factories, and expand its distribution networks in developing countries.
Kala Vijayraghavan & Sagar Malviya, "Procter & Gamble directs cost savings from sluggish developed economies into markets like India", Economic Times, March 21, 2012, © Times Internet Limited
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India

Procter & Gamble Builds New Factory In China, One Of The Largest In Asia

March 16, 2012: 02:29 AM EST
Procter & Gamble began building its new factory in Guangzhou, China, one of the largest manufacturing plants in Asia. Part of the company's $1 billion investment in China for implementation by 2015, the plant will be built in three stages, with the first stage to be completed in the second half of 2013, and will manufacture baby care products, including Pampers diapers.
Li Woke, "P&G expanding in China", China Daily, March 16, 2012, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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China Business
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Personal Care
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Worldwide
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China

China Cosmetics Company Seeks Overturn Of Lower Court's Copyright Infringement Ruling

March 14, 2012: 02:31 AM EST
Guangzhou Shiqi Cosmetics Co. Ltd. filed an appeal with the Beijing High People's Court to annul the Beijing Number 2 Intermediate People's Court's ruling that the cosmetics company's ZMShike trademark violates the copyright of Smith Kline & French Laboratories, a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline. Shiqi Cosmetics denies the allegation although the ZMShike trademark uses the same Chinese characters and is pronounced the same way as SK&F.
Zhang Zhao , "Cosmetic company appeals toothpaste trademark ruling", China Daily, March 14, 2012, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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China Business
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Intellectual Property Rights
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Avon Disputes PETA's Animal-Testing Allegations

March 13, 2012: 02:10 AM EST
Following a lawsuit that alleges that Avon, Estee Lauder, and Mary Kay “purposely defrauded consumers by falsely claiming that their products were ‘cruelty free’ while undertaking animal testing in order to sell their products in China and reap hundreds of millions of dollars in Chinese sales”, Avon defended its position. The company claimed that for over twenty years it has been committed to not testing on animals ‘except where required by local law’ and that that some governments require the company to perform additional product safety tests.
Michelle Yeomans , "Avon as transparent as a "black blanket,” says PETA VP in response to misleading China animal testing policy", Cosmetics Design, March 13, 2012, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Women’s Attitudes Toward Beauty Products Are Changing Globally

March 8, 2012: 04:11 AM EST
A 15-country study of beauty trends by McCann WorldGroup finds that as beauty standards continue to rise, women are demanding more of their beauty products. For example, they want products that are multitasking, harder working and provide greater value – mascara, for example, that also curls lashes. In addition, women want manufacturers to offer a range of products that work together, rather than just standalones. And the study shows that attitudes toward beauty products among women in emerging markets – China, Brazil and India – are markedly different from those of women in mature markets, such as the U.K., U.S., Germany and France.
MaryLou Costa, "Women want cosmetic brands to work harder", Marketing Week, March 08, 2012, © Centaur Media plc
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Foreign Brands Battle With Local Manufacturers In China's Luxury Market

February 27, 2012: 01:53 AM EST
International brands, such as L'Oreal and Gucci, have to compete with Shanghai Jahwa United Co. and other local manufacturers in the $33.7-billion luxury market in China. Previously associated with producing cheap counterfeits, China's consumer brands are shifting their attention to the high-end market, which is driven by increased consumer wealth, a growing middle class, and overall economic growth.
"China Luxury Pits L’Oreal Against Chiang Kai-Shek Kin: Retail", Bloomberg , February 27, 2012, © Bloomberg L.P.
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China Business
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Emerging Markets Will Be Major Source Of Revenue For Large Businesses

February 20, 2012: 02:00 AM EST
Unilever chief operating officer Harish Manwani said multi-national companies must be flexible enough to manage challenges posed by the need to balance inflation and growth in emerging markets, which are also affected by the global economic slowdown. He added that emerging markets will account for up to 70 percent of Unilever’s business and revenue.
Sudeshna Sen, "70% of our business will come from developing markets: Harish Manwani, Unilever", Economic Times, February 20, 2012, © Times Internet Limited
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Germany, Italy Lead Europe In Purchases Of Fine Fabric Detergents

February 15, 2012: 03:13 AM EST
Euromonitor research has found that while fine fabric detergent sales in Germany and Italy slid by 2.5 percent  in 2011, spending in those two countries still remains above the Western European average. The main reasons seem to be the high disposable incomes and continued popularity of designer label clothing. Fine fabric detergents accounted for nine percent (Germany) and 11 percent (Italy) of total laundry value spend in 2011. The Western European average is only six percent. Looking to the future, Euromonitor said fine fabric detergent providers should be paying close attention to the market opportunities emerging in rapidly-growing economies like China and India.
Lee Peart, "High Fashion Fuels Fine Fabric Detergent Demand in Germany and Italy", Euromonitor International, February 15, 2012, © Euromonitor International
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Germany
Italy

International FMCG Retailers In A Tough Battle For Market Share With Locals

February 15, 2012: 03:10 AM EST
Chinese shoppers who are buying more premium products and expanding their overall consumption of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) contributed to an 18 percent growth in FMCG value in China in 2011, though the primary driver was inflation, according top researcher Kantar Worldpanel. The big winner during the last quarter of 2011, in terms of market share, was Walmart, which now claims 7.8 percent of the Chinese FMCG market. Other top retailers, meanwhile, are struggling, either remaining level or losing share, as Carrefour did. It’s a tough battle for international retailers, who are enduring considerable competitive pressure from China’s local retailers, who are dominant outside of the four key cities: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.
"China: International FMCG retailers in China reporting mixed performance in 2011 as local players fight back", Kantar Worldpanel, February 15, 2012, © Kantar
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China Business
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Retail
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China

Surging Spending By China’s Online Shoppers Presents A Huge Opportunity

November 10, 2011: 03:27 AM EST
Online spending by Chinese consumers will soar over the next five years, but marketers looking to take advantage of the trend will need an active, targeted online strategy that accounts for the unique behaviors, demands, and challenges, according to the Boston Consulting Group, which conducted a survey among 4,000 online shoppers. Two key drivers – rising personal incomes and comfort with online shopping – are fueling the projected spending increase. According to BCG, China’s 145 million e-shoppers aren’t just looking for bargains, they are searching for unique products and “an engaging online experience.” China’s e-commerce market could reach RMB 2 trillion ($315 billion) by 2015. Nearly half of China’s urban consumers – accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s GDP – will be shopping both on- and offline within the next five years.
Jeff Walters et al., "Selling to China’s E-Shoppers", Report, Boston Consulting Group , November 10, 2011, © The Boston Consulting Group
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China Business
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Retail
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Unable To Control Product Sourcing In China, Walmart Pays A Heavy Price

October 20, 2011: 02:38 AM EST
Walmart has found itself embroiled in a controversy resulting from China’s efforts to improve food safety standards after several recent scandals. Walmart stores in southwest Chinese city Chongqing were caught selling ordinary pork mislabeled as organic. Thirteen stores were closed for two weeks and two store managers were arrested.The CEO of its Chinese unit and a top human resources executive resigned for “personal reasons.” The controversy comes at a bad time for Walmart, which is relying on the Chinese market to help make up for inadequate sales growth in mature markets. Part of the problem stems from the fact that Walmart has been unable to centralize source decisions because of a lack of relationships with local companies and the local government, according to the Financial Times.
Rahul Jacob, Patti Waldmeir and Barney Jopson, "Walmart presents irresistible target in China", Financial Times, October 20, 2011, © The Financial Times Limited
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China Business
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Food Business
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China

PepsiCo To Work With China On Developing Sustainable, Modernized Agriculture

September 19, 2011: 08:57 AM EST
PepsiCo has launched an initiative with the People’s Republic of China to promote sustainable agriculture projects and accelerate the development of the Chinese countryside. The company will work with China’s Ministry of Agriculture to build and operate demonstration farms that apply advanced irrigation, fertilization and crop management techniques. According to PepsiCo, they will also promote best practices in China's farming system to improve yields, increase income levels and raise living standards for farmers throughout the country. The partnership underscores the company's support for China's 12th Five-Year Plan, which establishes objectives for developing sustainable agriculture and speeding up agricultural modernization.
"PepsiCo to Partner with China's Ministry of Agriculture to Promote Sustainable Farming", Press release, PepsiCo, September 19, 2011, © PepsiCo
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China Business
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China

Chinese Company Expands Facilities To Ramp Up Organic Food Production

September 19, 2011: 08:45 AM EST
Chinese food and beverage company Nutrastar International said it plans to significantly expand its organic and specialty food consumer products business over the next year and a half. Production capacity expansion will total 890,000 square meters on the existing production grounds. The company said it will add hundreds of greenhouses with an annual projected organic production capacity of 6.5 million kg. The company’s current consumer product businesses include a specialty mushroom line and several beverage lines. The company is taking advantage of local government initiatives – sparked by China’s food safety problems – that provide financial support through subsidies to organic and green producers.
"Company Plans to Increase Organic and Specialty Food Product Offerings by 2012", Press Release, Nutrastar International, September 19, 2011, © Nutrastar International Inc.
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Food Business
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China’s Interest In Nutricosmetics Sparks Strong Sales Growth

September 1, 2011: 03:34 AM EST
Though nutricosmetics haven’t caught on in other parts of the world, market data from Datamonitor show high per capita spending in Asia, particularly in Japan. Nutricosmetics sales are  growing especially strongly in China, which is  expected to overtake Japan by 2015, according to market researcher Frost & Sullivan. Driving the phenomenon in China are rising disposable incomes, increased concerns about beauty, and strong cultural acceptance of the beauty-from-within concept, thanks to centuries of use of herbs and plants to cure beauty-related problems. In this report, Happi.com outlines nutricosmetics market opportunities for both established companies and new entrants in the Asian region.
"Nutricosmetics More Than a Niche in China", Happi.com, September 01, 2011, © Rodman Publishing / HAPPI
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China Business
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Food Business
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China
Hong Kong
Japan
South Korea

Concern Over Pesticide Use, Water Pollution Supplants Worry Over Climate Issues – Nielsen

August 31, 2011: 04:29 AM EST
A Nielsen survey of more than 25,000 Internet respondents in 51 countries finds that environmental concerns have displaced global warming and climate change as the top concerns of consumers, perhaps due to a drop in media attention. Key issues that have online consumers on edge are air and water pollution, water shortages, packaging waste and use of pesticides. Sixty-nine percent of consumers still say they worry about climate change/global warming (down from 72 percent in 2007). But 75 percent rated air pollution and water pollution as top concerns, both increasing six percentage points compared to 2009, according to Nielsen. Concern is mounting fastest over the use of pesticides, packaging waste and water shortages, with reported concern increasing 16, 14 and 13 percentage points, respectively.
"Sustainable Efforts & Environmental Concerns", Nielsenwire, August 31, 2011, © The Nielsen Company
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Middle East- Africa
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India

Carrefour Posts Half-Year Drop In Profit

August 31, 2011: 03:09 AM EST
French retail chain Carrefour reported a 2.3 percent increase in sales in the first half of 2011 to €39.6 billion ($56.3 billion), but a drop in profit of €927 million ($1.3 billion), compared to a profit of €14 million a year ago. The company attributed the drop in profit to “unsatisfactory performance” in France and a “tough environment” in Europe. Weak sales and unsatisfactory profit performance were the key problems in France, along with underperformance in Italy and Greece. Latin America, however, experienced solid growth in sales, and included an “encouraging turnaround” in Brazilian hypermarkets. The company also reported good growth in China and a confirmed recovery in Taiwan.
"Carrefour H1 2011 Results", Press release, Carrefour, August 31, 2011, © Carrefour
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Retail
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China
Taiwan
France
Italy
Belgium
Greece

Walmart Expands Presence In China's Smaller Cities

August 25, 2011: 04:25 AM EST
After growing from 70 stores in 2007 to more than 300 stores in 2011 Walmart said it will focus its China business on smaller cities and online opportunities, both areas where the company sees faster growth opportunities.  Walmart’s plans include opening supermarkets and Sam's Club warehouse markets in the country. China currently accounts for less than 10 percent of Walmart's revenue outside the United States although the market is expected to quickly grow in sophistication and size; sales revenue in China's retail sector is forecast to grow 14.5 percent annually to reach $5 trillion in 2016, according to Bloomberg News.
Li Woke , "Walmart China has big plans in small cities", China Daily, August 25, 2011, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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China Business
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Retail
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China

Estee Lauder Expands Presence In China, Launches Online Outlets

August 22, 2011: 10:59 PM EST
Estee Lauder plans to open more retail outlets in China, adding five more cities to the 38 it currently has. It also indicated it will launch ecommerce channels in the country which is now the world's third-largest market for cosmetics and toiletries.  Estee Lauder's sales grew 13 percent in 2010, with China accounting for a large part of the jump in sales. Chinese consumers no longer look at cosmetics as luxury items are and increasingly are able to purchase a wide range of products in the country rather than overseas. The market is increasingly competitive and other cosmetics companies are expected to follow Estee Lauder's move.
 
"Estee Lauder expands China's cosmetics universe", Independent, August 22, 2011, © independent.co.uk
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China Business
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Innovation
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China

BRIC Luxury Market Poised For Further Growth, Consumers Willing To Spend On Premium Products

August 22, 2011: 04:42 AM EST
A study by the Future Foundation shows that consumers in Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) are looking to spend their money on luxury brands. While on a small proportion of the population in these countries can afford luxury brands from Europe and the United States, demand remains strong. More than 50 percent of affluent consumers in India enjoy talking about the fashions they have purchased; 50 percent of urban Chinese said they will buy more designer clothes and accessories should their income increase and over half of Brazilian women said they would spend new income on luxury cosmetics brands. 
James Murphy, "Luxury BRIC by BRIC: the most unstoppable market in the world?", Brand Republic, August 22, 2011, via Future Foundation, © Haymarket Business Media
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India
Brazil
Russia

Coca-Cola And Partners Invest US$4 Billion More In China

August 18, 2011: 07:21 PM EST
Coca-Cola Company and bottling partners Swire Beverages Ltd. and COFCO Coca-Cola Beverage Co., Ltd. plan to invest US$4 billion in China over the next three years from 2012. The companies aim to enhance the sustainability of their operations in China and will have invested more than $3 billion in the country for the last three years, by the end of 2011, with total investments reaching $7 billion in 2009-2014. Coca-Cola's sales grew 6 percent worldwide, according to its second quarter 2011 financial results. China accounts for 7 percent of the global volume of Coca-Cola, which now operates more than 40 plants in the largest and fastest-growing consumer market.
"Coca-Cola Invests US$4 Billion for Long-Term Sustainable Growth in China", Coca-Cola, August 18, 2011, © The Coca-Cola Company
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China Business
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Sectors
Beverages
Environment
Sustainability
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
China

Nestlé Looking To Boost Share Of China’s Infant Nutrition Market Through Acquisitions

August 9, 2011: 08:03 AM EST
Bloomberg News reports that Nestlé SA may be looking to significantly increase its share of  China’s infant nutrition market by acquiring U.K. infant formula maker SMA Nutrition. Citing market analysts, Bloomberg says a purchase of SMA would boost the Swiss company to No. 3 from No. 6 in the market, and would result in cost savings of as much as 10 percent of the unit’s sales. Analysts say Nestlé may be preparing a bid for the baby food unit of Pfizer Inc., which last month said it was considering selling or spinning off its nutrition business. “China is the single most attractive baby food market and [Nestlé] has been losing share there,” a Euromonitor analyst said. “It’s a priority for them.”
Dermot Doherty, "Nestlé May Aim to Rebuild in Chinese Baby Food With Pfizer Unit", Bloomberg News, August 09, 2011, © Bloomberg LP
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China Business
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China
France
Switzerland

Inflation, Higher Labor Costs In China Won’t Have Much Effect On U.S. Prices – Study

August 8, 2011: 01:53 AM EST
Inflation and labor cost increases in China are not likely to have much impact on U.S. consumer prices, according to economists at the Federal Reserve Board (San Francisco), despite the record trade deficit the U.S. is running with that country. They found that goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7 percent of personal consumption spending by Americans in 2010. Less than half of that represented the actual costs of Chinese imports. The authors say that even when the imported content of goods made in the U.S. is taken into account, imports from China account for only a small part of total U.S. consumer spending. In fact, 55 cents of every dollar spent on an item labeled “Made in China” goes for services produced in the U.S.
Galina Hale and Bart Hobijn, "The U.S. Content of “Made in China”", Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, August 08, 2011, © Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
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Herbalife To Build Production Plants, Manufacture Products In-House

August 3, 2011: 08:32 PM EST
Herbalife plans to increase its manufacturing operations in order to make more products in-house and also either boost margins or reduce prices. The company is looking at Brazil, India, and Eastern Europe have emerged as possible sites for the planned factories which forms part of its effort to produce 80% of its products in-house by the end of the decade. Herbalife is doing well direct-selling its supplements: revenue grew 27.7 percent to $879.65 million in the quarter ending June 30. and it aims to triple sales by 2020 by expanding its presence in emerging markets and enhancing distribution in mature markets. Sales dropped slightly in China as it transitioned to a daily consumption model, but surged 121 percent in India, while Mexico and Asia Pacific saw double-digit growth rates. 
Elaine Watson, "Herbalife to expand manufacturing footprint", NutraIngredientsUSA, August 03, 2011, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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India

Consumer Research And Targeted Marketing Help Western Consumer Goods Companies Flourish In Russia

August 3, 2011: 12:08 AM EST
Western consumer packaged goods companies are investing in consumer research to adapt their marketing campaigns to local conditions in Russia. Reckitt Benckiser spends around 12 percent of its $440 million revenue from the former Soviet countries on consumer research and marketing, an investment that helped the company launch a successful advertising campaign for its Calgonit dishwasher tablets after research found that Russian women spend inordinate amounts of time on washing dishes because dishwashers are not common in Russian homes. The company also found success in marketing its Clearasil anti-acne treatment although Russian teenagers had been using soap and water until ten years ago. Unilever signed up Russian celebrity Vera Brezhneva to endorse its Rexona deodorant after research showed majority of Russian women viewed her as their ideal of a perfect woman.
Khristina Narizhnaya, "Consumer Companies Teach Western Ways to Russians", The St. Petersburg Times, August 03, 2011, © The St. Petersburg Times
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GLG Launches Subsidiary To Exploit International Stevia Market Opportunities

July 26, 2011: 12:07 AM EST
Stevia developer GLG Life Tech Corporation has created a subsidiary to provide naturally sweetened zero and reduced calorie food and beverage formulations to customers outside mainland China. AN0C Stevia Solutions Company’s product lines will include natural sweeteners, natural flavors and natural colors in zero or low calorie beverage and food products. AN0C Stevia Solutions will focus on customer opportunities internationally; AN0C Anhui will focus on opportunities in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. AN0C Stevia Solutions is also developing customer opportunities in the Middle East and India.
"GLG Launches Subsidiary To Exploit International Stevia Market Opportunities", Press release, GLG Life Tech Corp, July 26, 2011, © GLG Life Tech Corp
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China Business
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Food Business
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China
Japan

Average Prices Of Luxury Products In China Rose 7.7 Percent

July 26, 2011: 03:00 AM EST
Average prices of luxury consumer goods in China rose 7.7 percent in 2011, according to the Hurun Report magazine reflecting rising demand, import duties and foriegn exchange movements. Prices of yachts and of renting private aircraft increased the most, up 20 percent, while prices of accessories and cosmetic products rose 16 percent. Foriegn exchange movements has caused some companies to increase prices: since May the euro is up nearly 12 percent against the yuan while the Swiss franc is up nearly 29 percent. L'Oreal and Estee Lauder cited exchange rates and rising costs for their decision to raise prices of their high-end cosmetics by 8 to 20 percent.
"Luxuries cost nearly 8% more", China.org.cn, July 26, 2011, © China.org.cn
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Nestlé Acquires Controlling Stake In Singapore-Listed, China-Based Hsu Fu Chi

July 18, 2011: 11:12 AM EST
Nestlé has agreed with the Hsu family to acquire 60% of Hsu Fu Chi, a Singapore-listed manufacturer and distributor of confectionery products in China. The Hsu family will retain 40% of the company, with Hsu Chen remaining as CEO and chairman of Hsu Fu Chi. Nestlé offers to buy the shares of the company's independent shareholders who account for 43.5% of the shares in Hsu Fu Chi as part of the deal, which is subject to approval by regulators in China.
Press Release, Nestlé, "Nestlé to enter partnership with Chinese confectionery company Hsu Fu Chi", Nestlé, July 18, 2011, © Nestlé
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Adolescent Obesity In China Is Associated With “Healthy” Western Lifestyle

July 11, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
In findings that run counter to patterns in Western society, teenaged boys from affluent Chinese families who are physically active and whose diet is rich in vegetables but not candy or junk food are more likely to be overweight. U.S. researchers looked at lifestyle questionnaire data from more than 9,000 Chinese middle and high school boys. Like Western teenagers, Chinese youth who slept and exercised less tended to be more overweight. But similarities ended there. Contrary to Western patterns, Chinese adolescents were more likely to be overweight: if they were boys; if they frequently participated in vigorous physical activity; and if they were younger rather than older. The findings suggest that “weight-related correlates might play different roles in Chinese culture than they do in Western cultures," researchers said.
Hsu, Ya-Wen, et al., "Correlates of Overweight Status in Chinese Youth: An East-West Paradox", American Journal of Health Behavior, July 11, 2011, © American Academy of Health Behavior
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Nestlé To Acquire Majority Stake In Chinese Confectionery Company

July 11, 2011: 10:27 AM EST
Nestlé announced it is acquiring a 60 percent stake in Chinese candy and snack maker Hsu Fu Chi. Under the agreement, the founding family of Hsu Fu Chi will retain a 40 percent interest in the company and Hsu Chen will remain CEO. Nestlé said it is paying approximately CHF 1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) to acquire the stake in Hsu Fu Chi. Hsu Fu Chi’s product lines include sugar confectionery, cereal-based snacks, packaged cakes and the traditional Chinese snack sachima. In 2010, Hsu Fu Chi reported sales of CHF 669 million and an EBIT margin of 17.3percent. The completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval in China.
"Nestlé to enter partnership with Chinese confectionery company Hsu Fu Chi", Press release, Nestlé, July 11, 2011, © Nestlé
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China Business
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Food Business
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China

Analysis Of Clinical Trials Finds That Green Tea Lowers “Bad” Cholesterol Somewhat

June 29, 2011: 09:56 AM EST
A meta-analysis of 14 clinical trials in which participants either drank green tea or consumed green tea extracts from three weeks to three months found that green tea was associated with a lowering of HDL or “bad” cholesterol, but not with a rise in HDL cholesterol. Green reduced total cholesterol an average of 7.2 mg/dL compared to the placebo. Meanwhile, LDL dropped by a a mean of 2.2 mg/dL, about two percent. The researchers suggested the possibility that these reductions could be due to the presence of catechins in green tea, which lower absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.
Xin-Xin Zheng, et al. , "Green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults: a meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 29, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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China Business
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Beverages
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Worldwide
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China

Organic Food Market Booms In China, Reaches 5% Of Global Total

June 27, 2011: 08:24 PM EST
China's organic food market has grown significantly and now accounts for 5% of the world trade in organic foods, with the country ranking third in terms of size of organic farmland. Data from the China Organic Food Certification Center shows that China's organic food exports reached $350 million in 2006 (the latest data available).  Chinese exporters take most of the organic produce to markets in Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. Some observers believe that the exports sector is the leading factor driving the organic food market's growth, while some analysts assert that domestic demand is the major growth driver.
Li Woke, "Organic food a growing biz for the health-aware", China Daily, June 27, 2011, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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China Business
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Food Business
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Formation Of Acrylamide In Starchy Foods Is Reduced By Grape Seed, Clove Bud Extracts

June 16, 2011: 04:31 AM EST
Researchers in Hong Kong and Singapore have found that grape seed and clove bud extracts  seem to cut the formation of the carcinogen acrylamide in food products made from potatoes by 60 percent. Grape seed compounds known as proanthocyanidins reduced acrylamide production by 62.2 percent in potato-based foods. However, in toher carbohydrate-based foods, such as cookies, extracts of clove buds reduced acrylamide development by 51 percent. Acrylamide is produced when sugar and the amino acid asparagine are subjected to heat. The process, known as the Maillard reaction, results in the brown color of baked, friend or toasted foods. The compound, however, was found to cause cancer in laboratory rats.
Zhu F, et al. , "Dietary plant materials reduce acrylamide formation in cookie and starch-based model systems", Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, June 16, 2011, © Society of Chemical Industry
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DSM Closes Joint Venture Deal With Chinese Food Enzyme Producer

June 9, 2011: 12:11 PM EST
Dutch food and beverage ingredients company Royal DSM announced that it has closed a joint venture agreement with privately-held biotechnology company Yixing QianCheng Bio-Engineering Co Ltd for QianCheng’s food enzyme activities. The JV creates a new company DSM (Jiangsu) Biotechnology Co. Ltd. DSM says the global market for enzymes amounts to € 2 billion and is growing by 6-8 percent per year. The Chinese market for food enzymes is one of the world’s largest and is experiencing growth rates far above the global average. DSM is the majority shareholder in the joint venture with 85 percent of the shares. Yixing QianCheng Bio-Engineering Co Ltd will own the remaining 15 percent.
"DSM strengthens enzymes activities through joint venture", Press release, DSM, June 09, 2011, © DSM
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In China, Consumer Goods Companies Cut Costs With Smaller Packaging

May 20, 2011: 12:57 AM EST
Consumer goods manufacturers in China, including food companies, are launching products with smaller packaging to manage production costs. Smaller sizes also help companies to protect their bottom lines without running afoul of the National Development and Reform Commission's anti-inflation policies that encourage companies to maintain their prices. China's government, fearful of inflation's possible impact on economic growth and stability, are very sensitive of price increases and recently fined Unilever $300,000 for announcing future price increases in the media. Examples of smaller packaging moves include Cofco Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd.'s and Pepsi's release of 500-milliliter bottles and Master Kong's introduction of 450-milliliter juice bottles.
ALEX FRANGOS And LAURIE BURKITT , "The Incredible Shrinking Bottle", Wall Street Journal, May 20, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Food Safety Problems Plague China Again

May 7, 2011: 11:24 AM EST
Two years ago China reacted swiftly to the melamine-contaminated milk scandal that sickened thousands of children: the government threatened, raided and arrested – even executed – disreputable food processors. But efforts by the government to enforce a tougher food safety law are falling short, The New York Times reports, as “a stomach-turning string of food-safety scandals this spring” has provided evidence of a continued problem. The media have reported on recycled buns, fake eggs, pork contaminated with drugs, pork sold as beef after being soaked in borax, rice contaminated with the heavy metal cadmium, arsenic-laced soy sauce, etc. And without a strong consumer lobby to voice its concerns, consumers feel helpless. Government officials meanwhile, though admitting embarrassment, say the situation is improving.
Sharon LaFraniere, "In China, Fear of Fake Eggs and ‘Recycled’ Buns", New York Times, May 07, 2011, © The New York Times Company
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Pfizer Targets Obesity Problem In Young Children With New Child Nutrition Products

May 6, 2011: 09:00 PM EST
Noting that 43 million children under age five were overweight in 2010, Pfizer has launched a new range of child nutrition products – infant and follow-on formulas, and “growing-up milk” – “developed to meet the changing nutritional and feeding needs of young children.” The GOLD range of products provides nutrients needed for health, growth and development in growing children, the company said. The GOLD range provides older infants and young children with 100 percent of the U.S. Daily Reference Intakes of vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc, recommended levels of vitamin D, less protein to support healthier rates of growth, and the soluble fiber oligofructose to promote gut health.
"Pfizer Launches New Advanced GOLD Range of Early Child Nutrition Products", Press Release, Pfizer Nutrition, May 06, 2011, © Pfizer
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Nestlé Acquires 60 Percent Stake In Chinese Food Company Yinlu Foods

April 18, 2011: 08:36 AM EST
Nestlé has acquired a 60 percent stake in Chinese food company Yinlu Foods Group for an undisclosed sum. Yinlu Chairman Chen Qingyuan will continue as the top executive under the new ownership arrangement, termed a “partnership” by Nestlé. The acquisition must be approved by Chinese regulators before it is finalized. A well-established household brand in China, Yinlu markets ready-to-drink peanut milk and canned rice porridge, and is a co-manufacturer of ready-to-drink Nescafé coffee in China. Yinlu’s 2010 sales were CHF 750 million (US$843 million). Nestlé has operated in China for more than twenty years, with 23 factories, two R&D centers and 14,000 employees.
"Nestlé to enter partnership with Chinese food company Yinlu", Press release, Nestlé, April 18, 2011, © Nestlé
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Women, Older People Are The Most Eco-Conscious, Global Market Study Finds

April 7, 2011: 04:23 AM EST
Women and older consumers across the world are generally more environmentally conscious overall, a new study from market researcher Synovate has found, while young people are the least eco-conscious. The study, which looked at “green” behavior globally, also found that the way people feel about the future, their family, and their country aren’t very important factors in determining green habits. Synovate asked 22,000 people in around the worldt about their recycling habits, purchase of ecological products, purchase of organic foods, etc. Women ranked higher than men across all green behavior categories, and people aged 56-65 years old ranked highest in recycling and buying ecological products. People 46-55 years old were more likely to buy organic food. Lowest green scores among age groups? Young people aged 16-25 years old. Data from the study were also broken down by country.
"Synovate survey reveals latest green habits and consumption across the world", Press release, Synovate, April 07, 2011, © Synovate
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Strawberries Inhibit Growth Of Precancerous Lesions In Esophagus – Study

April 6, 2011: 06:42 PM EST
A six-month phase 1b clinical study conducted in China by Ohio State University researchers has found that eating freeze-dried strawberries has a beneficial effect on patients with esophageal precancerous lesions who are at high risk for developing the cancer. The researchers found that ingestion of strawberry as a treatment is not only safe and easy, the strawberries “decreased histological grade of precancerous lesions and reduced cancer-related molecular events.” The 36 participants ate about two ounces of freeze-dried strawberries daily over six months, after which biopsies were taken and analyzed. Twenty-nine of the 36 participants showed a decrease in the precancerous lesions, suggesting that strawberries might someday be used instead of or in addition to chemotherapy drugs for prevention of esophageal cancer.
"Strawberries May Slow Precancerous Growth in Esophagus", Press Release, Ohio State University, April 06, 2011, © Ohio State University
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MSG Consumption Associated With Weight Gain

April 6, 2011: 04:30 AM EST
Researchers in China, Canada and the U.S. who studied the impact of monosodium glutamate (MSG) on metabolism found a positive association, regardless of calorie intake, between the flavor enhancer widely used in Asian cuisine and weight gain. The study analyzed health data collected on more than 10,000 healthy Chinese adults from 1991 to 2006. They found that a daily intake of .6 g to 3.8 g was positively associated with being overweight, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher. The researchers urged further studies be undertaken to determine how MSG acts in the body, but they guessed that the compound influences energy balance through the disruption of the hypothalamic signaling cascade of leptin action.
K. He, et al. , "Consumption of monosodium glutamate in relation to incidence of overweight in Chinese adults: China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS)", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 06, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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Taurine Found To Hinder Production Of Carcinogen Acrylamide In Baked, Fried Foods

March 28, 2011: 09:59 AM EST
Chinese researchers have found that the energy drink ingredient taurine inhibits the production of  the carcinogen acrylamide during the baking and frying process. Acrylamide is produced when sugar and the amino acid asparagines react during the baking, frying or toasting process. That reaction causes the brown color and flavor of baked or fried foods. Taurine, derived from the amino acid cysteine, is found naturally in seafood and meat and is believed to boost energy. When taurine is introduced in what is called the Maillard reaction, it reacts with the glucose and with any acrylamide, inhibiting its production by as much as 72 percent.
R. Hao, X. Leng, H. Jing , "Acrylamide–taurine adducts formation as a key mechanism for taurine’s inhibitory effect on acrylamide formation", International Journal of Food Science & Technology, March 28, 2011, © The Authors
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China Cracks Down On Dairy Producers Who Lack Modern Product Testing Equipment

March 28, 2011: 11:21 AM EST
Ongoing government inspections of China’s 800 fresh milk and infant formula producers could lead to the revocation of production licenses of 20 percent of the companies because of inadequate product testing equipment. So far, dairies in Fujian, Guangdong, Shaanxi, Sichuan and Ningxia have been inspected. At least 30 percent of the dairies in four of those provinces are likely to have their production licenses revoked, but fewer than 20 percent of those in Sichuan province. The inspections were expected to be completed by the end of March. The government requires that testing equipment must be able to analyze for 64 additives, including melamine. But upgrading equipment is prohibitively expensive for all but the largest producers, industry analysts say.
Yang Lina, "Dairy products crackdown", China Daily, March 28, 2011, © Xinhua News Agency
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Newly Discovered Herbal Ingredients Could Provide Safer, More Effective Skin Whitening Cream

March 28, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists in Taiwan report that two active compounds derived from an evergreen herb used as a “cure all” in traditional Chinese medicine will make a safer and more effective skin-whitening agent. They will be testing the ingredients in clinical trials, and have applied for patents in the U.S. and other countries. The ingredients, from the evergreen bush Cinnamomum subavenium, can block tyrosinase, an enzyme that controls the synthesis of melanin, the dark pigment responsible for coloring skin, hair and eyes. Inhibiting tyrosinase is one of the major strategies for skin-whitening, the researchers said. Skin lightening products are especially popular among Asian men and women, but often cause unwanted side effects, such as itching, redness and inflammation. The researchers hope to market a cream based on the herbal ingredients within a year.
Hui-Min Wang, Ph.D., et al., "Safer, More Effective Skin-Whitening Creams from Ancient Chinese Herbal Medicine", Presentation,National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, March 28, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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Pterostilbene Found To Be More Effective At Preventing Colon Cancer Than Resveratrol

March 23, 2011: 12:50 PM EST
A Taiwan study in mice comparing the health benefits of reveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and red wine, and pterostilbene found pterostilbene to be more potent in protecting against colon cancer. Pterostilbene, extracted from the heartwood of the Indian kino tree, has been shown in earlier studies to have anti-diabetes effects as well. The polyphenol resveratrol has been known for some time to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. “These findings strongly suggest the chemopreventive potential of dietary administration of pterostilbene against colonic tumorigenesis,” the researchers concluded.
Y-S. Chiou, et al. , "Pterostilbene Is More Potent than Resveratrol in Preventing Azoxymethane (AOM)-Induced Colon Tumorigenesis via Activation of the NF-E2-Related Factor 2 (Nrf2)-Mediated Antioxidant Signaling Pathway", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, March 23, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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Researchers Find Some Indications That Tofu May Help Control Blood Sugar

March 18, 2011: 07:59 AM EST
Despite some evidence from earlier observational studies, an analysis by Chinese scientists of 24 clinical trials involving 1,518 people has found that generally soy intake did not improve the level of blood sugar (glycemic control) in diabetics. Nine clinical studies, however, evaluated the impact of whole soy foods, such as tofu, compared to soy supplements, and found “a favorable change in fasting glucose concentrations,” according to the researchers. The researchers nevertheless said it would be premature to conclude that eating tofu helps diabetics control their blood sugar levels, and more research is needed.
Zhao-min Liu, et al., "Effects of soy intake on glycemic control: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 18, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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Biothera Ingredient Approved For Use In China

March 7, 2011: 10:39 AM EST
China’s Ministry of Health has approved Biothera’s Wellmune WGP as a novel food ingredient, allowing its use in foods and beverages throughout the country. Wellmune WGP, derived from the cell walls of a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), is clinically proven to safely prime the immune system to keep the body healthy, the company says. The ingredient mobilizes billions of innate immune cells that are part of the body’s natural defenses without over stimulating the immune system. An ingredient in food, beverage and supplement products in more than 30 countries, Wellmune WGP has been designated as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) in the U.S. Biothera specializes  in immune-enhancing ingredients derived from a complex carbohydrate called beta 1,3/1,6 gluco polysaccharide.
"Biothera’s Wellmune WGP Approved for Food Use in China", News release, Wellmune WGP, March 07, 2011, © Biothera, The Immune Health Company
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Cadbury Introduces India To The Oreo Cookie

March 3, 2011: 11:56 AM EST
Kraft Foods unit Cadbury India has begun selling the Oreo cookie brand in India in an effort to crack a strong and growing Indian cookie market. An AC Nielsen study says the category grew 17 percent in 2010, led by creams and biscuits (cookies). Cadbury says testing among Indian consumers found an enthusiastic reception for the classic dark chocolate varierty with vanilla crème flavor. Kraft is investing heavily in promotion of Oreos in India, according to Cadbury, which notes that the company has tripled sales of Oreos in the Asia Pacific market in three years, and has done especially well in China.
"Cadbury India Introduces Iconic Oreo Biscuit Brand In India", Cadbury India press release, March 03, 2011, © Cadbury India Limited
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Heinz Acquires 80-Percent Stake In Brazil's Coniexpress, Reports Third Quarter Results

March 3, 2011: 09:39 AM EST
H.J. Heinz Company agreed to purchase an 80-percent stake in Coniexpress S.A. Industrias Alimenticias, manufacturer of the Quero brand of tomato sauces, paste, ketchup, condiments, and vegetables in Brazil. Aside from greatly expanding Heinz's operations in Latin America, the acquisition of the Quero business, which has annual sales of about $325 million, gives the company its first significant presence in Brazil. Heinz reported 1.5 percent growth in sales for its third quarter ended January 26, 2011, and a 20 percent increase in total net income. Earnings per share rose from continuing operations rose 1.2%, fueled by 14 percent sales growth in emerging markets led by China, India, Indonesia, and Russia, 3.8-percent organic growth in the top 15 brands, as well as sales and volume growth in the North America Consumer Products segment. Heinz has increased its full-year reported EPS guidance and now expects to sales growth of 2-3 percent for the year, revised down to reflect the labor stoppage in Venezuela and slow recovery in the U.S. foodservice industry.
Heinz, "Heinz Agrees to Acquire 80% Stake in a Leading Brazilian Food Company", Heinz press release, March 03, 2011, © H. J. Heinz Company
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Fonterra Expands Outside New Zealand, Builds Dairy Farms in China

February 22, 2011: 10:48 AM EST
Fonterra Co-Operative Group Ltd. CEO Andrew Ferrier has said his company plans to expand outside New Zealand, particularly in China. Fonterra, which has sales near $13 billion and produces about a third of the internationally traded dairy products globally, is building dairy farms in China; this follows the 2008 contaminated milk scandal involving Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co., which was 43-percent owned by Fonterra and prompted it to take control of all aspects of its operations in China. Ferrier sees growing wealth and population growth increasing demand, even as climate change and increasing costs of production push up milk prices worldwide. He added that Fonterra will not sell genetically modified milk products in countries where consumers do not want them, and is instead focusing on selective breeding of cows to improve milk quality and production.
REBECCA HOWARD, "Dairy Producer Eyes Expansion in China", The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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