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Chinese Coffee Company Debuts Smart Vending And Coffee Machines

January 8, 2020: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © www.luckincoffee.com]
Tonya Garcia, "Luckin Coffee launches smart vending machines, Luckin Pop", MarketWatch, January 08, 2020, © Marketwatch, Inc
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New Chinese Craft Brewery Is Carlsberg’s First Outside Of Europe

December 13, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Danish brewer Carlsberg said it has officially put into operation its new craft and specialty brewing facility in Tianchang, China, as it seeks to expand premium and specialty product lines. The new brewery is the company's first local plant for draught beer to be established outside of Europe. Carlsberg Beer Anhui Co Ltd, a wholly owned unit of Carlsberg, has invested more than $14 million in the new brewing facility, with a production capacity of 10 million liters a year, will be a central hub for craft and specialty product lines such as K1664, Greenberg, and Brooklyn. The brewery will serve the China market as well as the rest of the Asia Pacific region. [Image Credit: © Carlsberg Breweries A/S]
Ding Yining, "Carlsberg opens new craft, specialty beer facility in Anhui", Shine.cn, December 13, 2019, © Shanghai Daily
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Mythical Chinese Emperor Inspires New Range Of CBD-Infused Teas

November 26, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © Sh'nnong Beverage Co.]
Jules Scully, "Sh’nnong Beverage Company releases CBD-infused iced teas", FoodBev Media Ltd, November 26, 2019, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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China’s Mengniu Dairy Buys Australia’s Lion Dairy From Kirin

November 25, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited]
Emma Upshall, "Mengniu makes $407m offer to acquire Lion Dairy & Drinks", FoodBev Media , November 25, 2019, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Wahaha Founder Is On A Quest To Modernize His Company

November 6, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Zong Qinghou, the 74-year-old founder of China’s largest privately held beverage company Hangzhou Wahaha Group, is determined to come up with fresh product ideas and modern operational modes to rekindle consumer interest in his company. Analysts say Wahaha hasn’t kept pace with changing consumer tastes in China, where consumers are looking for beverages that are innovative and new. “Wahaha is still very price-focused, and hasn’t captured the trading-up trend as well as it could have,” says one analyst. While he concedes that Wahaha’s products was once perceived as cheap and old-fashioned, Zong says he’s working to modernize his products. The company recently launched a major upgrade of packaging and ingredients, has expanded into nutritional tablets and meal replacement biscuits, and plans to increase the current number of 6,000 distributors to 10,000 by year end. Perhaps most importantly, however, is Zong’s willingness to experiment with social media and e-commerce. He has promised to lift sales by at least 50 percent next year, to $10 billion.[Image Credit: © Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co.,Ltd.]
Yue Wang, "China's Richest 2019: King Of Beverages Zong Qinghou Aims To Revitalize Wahaha", Forbes Media, November 06, 2019, © Forbes Media LLC
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Coca-Cola Unveils BodyArmor Hydration Beverage On China’s Tmall Platform

November 5, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © BA Sports Nutrition, LLC]
Pearly Neo , "Sports exclusive: Coca-Cola China banks on e-commerce to market BodyArmor ", Beverage Daily, November 05, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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South Korean Confectioner To Launch Mineral Water Into China

November 4, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
South Korean confectioner Orion, best known for the chocolate snack Choco Pie, plans to launch its first mineral water product, Jeju Yongamsu, this month in South Korea and then in China in the first half of next year. It will be priced at the upper-middle level in the price range of bottled mineral water sold in China, the company said. The mineral water is naturally filtered through 400,000-year-old basalt, making it rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Orion has signed a contract with Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee, which operates about 3,000 stores nationwide, to supply it with 530 ml bottles of the mineral water, as well as snack products. Orion also plans to export the mineral water to Vietnam.
Lee Shin-hyung, "Korean firm aims to quench China’s thirst", Asia Times, November 04, 2019, © Asia Times (Hong Kong) Limited
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Nestlé Looks To Sell Controlling Stakes In Chinese Beverage Company

October 31, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

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.[Image Credit: © yinlu]
Eric Schroeder, "Nestlé pondering sale of two Chinese brands", Food Business News, October 31, 2019, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY
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DuPont Nutrition Will Work With China’s By-Health To Develop Probiotic Supplements

September 30, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
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.”[Image Credit: © Imo Flow from Pixabay]
Emma Upshall, "DuPont partners with By-Health to develop probiotics", FoodBev Media , September 30, 2019, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Suntory Pursues “Bottle-To-Bottle” Plastics Project

August 19, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
After China’s 2017 decision to stop importing other countries’ plastic waste, Japan needed to quickly find alternative destinations for its waste in regions like Southeast Asia. However, Malaysia and the Philippines have followed China’s lead and vowed to turn away shipments of plastic waste, unwilling to serve as dumping grounds for first-world garbage. Japanese leaders are considering a number of potential solutions to the growing problem, including boosting the capabilities of incinerators to burn plastic refuse as fuel for generating energy, and increasing the recycling of soft drink bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Suntory has become the first major Japanese beverage company to move toward closed-loop recycling when in May it announced an initiative to use PET drink bottles made completely from old containers. It is partnering on the project with Kyōei Industry, which has developed a method for creating high-quality PET resin from recycled plastic bottles. The bottle-to-bottle movement gained momentum after a 2009 study showed that manufacturing PET bottles from used plastic emits 63 percent less CO2 than using petroleum does.[Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED]
Miyake Reiko, "Refuse to Resource: Suntory’s Bottle-to-Bottle Initiative to Reshape Plastic Recycling", Nippon.com, August 19, 2019, © Nippon Communications Foundation
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Coca-Cola’s Chinese Bottler Swire To Move Local Head Office To Shanghai

August 2, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
China Coca-Cola bottler Swire plans on moving its local headquarters from Hong Kong to Shanghai with a view to increasing visibility in the country. Coca-Cola and Swire opened a new production facility in southern China's Yunan province last year, marking 40 years since Coca-Cola's return to the country. Swire is keeping its global head office in Hong Kong.[Image Credit: © Swire Coca-Cola HK]
Andy Morton, "Swire Coca-Cola moves China HQ to Shanghai", Just-drinks.com, August 02, 2019, © just-drinks.com
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Starbucks Competitor In China Takes Market Battle To Middle East, India

July 22, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © www.luckincoffee.com]
Rishi Iyengar, "China's Luckin Coffee is taking on Starbucks in more big markets", CNN Business, July 22, 2019, © Cable News Network.Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
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Suntory Joint Venture To Sell Health Foods To Affluent Chinese

July 14, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED]
"Suntory targets China's health-conscious consumers", NHK , July 14, 2019, © NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
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Coca-Cola China Introduces Coconut-Flavored Sprite

July 4, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Company in June launched a coconut-flavored Sprite variant in China that contains 2.5 percent coconut water and zero sugar. The launch of Sprite Coconut involved all channels across most of the provinces in the country at a recommended retail price of $0.87 in convenience stores and $0.70 in other retail outlets. A Coca-Cola spokesman said the new launch would bring “new brand touchpoints to consumers through product innovations.” Recent Coke innovations in China included Sprite Fiber+, launched last year. The soft drink contains 7.5 g of dietary fiber, or 30 percent of the suggested daily fiber amount.
Tingmin Koe , "Sprite Coconut: Coca-Cola bringing ‘new brand touchpoints’ to the China", Food Navigator Asia, July 04, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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U.S. Trade War Deters Suntory From Further Investment In China

July 2, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED]
Huileng Tan, "Japanese brewer Suntory will hold off investing in China amid the trade war", CNBC.com, July 02, 2019, © CNBC LLC. A Division of NBCUniversal
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Nongfu Spring Introduces Sparkling Coffee Beverage In China

May 31, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Nongfu Spring is going head-to-head with Coca-Cola with an RTD bottled sparkling coffee beverage in the country. The mineral water company’s carbonated coffee product will be first sold in the 1st and 2nd tier cities in China, with e-commerce, schools, and new retail as the main sales channels. The retail price of the RTD carbonated coffee is set at $0.70 to $0.90 a bottle. Two years in development, the new product is made with coffee beans sourced from Ethiopia and Brazil. Coca-Cola announced earlier this year that it was planning to launch Coca-Cola Coffee in 25 markets, including China, by the end of this year. Coca-Cola’s coffee unit Costa has been operating in China since 2007. Instant coffee remains the most commonly consumed format in China, with more than 70 percent of the market share, followed by coffee beans, coffee capsules, and RTD coffee.
Tingmin Koe , "New horizons: China water giant Nongfu Spring moves into carbonated coffee market", Food Navigator Asia, May 31, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd –
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Oatly Battles Low Awareness Of Nondairy Milk As It Prepares To Enter Chinese Market

May 29, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Swedish oat drink manufacturer Oatly hopes to build a foothold in the Chinese beverage market, where studies show most Chinese consumers are at least a little lactose intolerant. There are no official statistics, but research has shown that lactose intolerance affects around 30 percent of Chinese children, and 92 percent of adults. The brand launched in Hong Kong in 2016, where it is sold in supermarkets, Starbucks, Pacific Coffee outlets, and independent cafes. It has opened an office in China to prepare for a launch there. The Chinese government strongly supports the dairy industry and encourages milk production, but dairy alternatives have been growing. Oatly wants to make a splash in the nondairy milk category, but first has to tackle its branding and the low awareness of dairy alternatives. Ninety-six percent of consumers in Hong Kong, for example, only think of cow's milk when they see the Chinese character for milk. Only two percent think of plant-based milk.
Richard Whitehead , "Oatly has sights set on great march into China", Dairy Reporter, May 29, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Legal Challenges Have Not Impeded Nongfu Spring’s NZ Water Bottling Plans – So Far

May 11, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
New Zealand’s Environment Court and High Court continue to tackle complicated water bottling issues, including the allegation that lax environmental regulation encourages companies such as Nongfu Spring to set up in New Zealand with few barriers. The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has courted the company for several years as an economic development strategy in the face of multiple legal challenges over environmental and other concerns. The Chinese beverage giant, second only to Nestlé in the global production of bottled water, has negotiated with New Zealand government officials, including local Maori elders, over the building of a water bottling plant in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Nongfu’s Shanshan Zhong told the elders of a local tribe his company would be good for the community, and local people would be offered jobs first. It would be the company’s first bottling plant outside of China. Nongfu Spring intends to bottle 580 million liters per year using two state-of-the-art, high speed bottling lines. Almost all of the bottled water would be shipped to China for distribution. 
Charlie Mitchell, "Chinese water giant Nongfu Spring was courted by Government officials as public opposition grew", Stuff.co.nz, May 11, 2019, © Stuff Limited
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Nestlé Opens Pop-Up Coffee Shop In Beijing

April 28, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé's 80-year-old coffee producer Nescafé this month is opening a pop-up coffee shop – the Nescafé Sense Café – in Beijing, China, the third offline outlet in China for the brand. Nestlé China's coffee unit reached saw double-digit growth last year, highlighted by ready-to-drink coffee and capsule coffee. The pop-up store was designed to create an immersive experience that blends culture, architecture, and art, a Nestlé spokesman said, to keep up with the ever-changing demands and consumption trends. In April, Nestlé unveiled a new locally-developed fruit-flavored ice soluble coffee that targets young consumers.
Wang Zhuoqiong, "Nestlé introduces pop-up store in Beijing", chinadaily.com.cn, April 28, 2019, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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Nongfu Spring Forges Partnership With Water Sports Organization FINA

April 2, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Olympic water sports administrator FINA has inked a four-year partnership with Chinese mineral water maker Nongfu Spring. The partnership includes the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series, the FINA World Championships 2019/2021, FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2020/2022, FINA/CNSG Diving World Series 2019-2022, and FINA Swimming World Cup 2019-2022. “We hope we can contribute to the further development of world aquatics,” said Zhong Xiaoxiao, vice president of Nongfu.
Denis Bedoya, "China’s enterprise Nongfu Spring indicators partnership with FINA", Inforsurhoy, April 02, 2019, © Infosurhoy LLC
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China’s Dairy Firm Yili Will Acquire New Zealand’s Westland Milk

March 19, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
A subsidiary of China’s state-owned dairy company Yili Group will acquire Westland Milk Products of New Zealand for $403 million. A company executive said the proposed transaction would be “the best available outcome” for shareholders, the price being “attractive … to the Westland shares’ nominal value.” The company decided to explore ownership options when it couldn’t deliver competitive milk pay-out in recent years. Hongkong Jingang Trade Holding, a subsidiary of Yili, will carry out the acquisition. Yili has been in New Zealand since 2013 when it acquired Oceania, the South Canterbury-based dairy company.
Jules Scully, "Yili set to acquire Westland Milk Products in deal worth $403m", FoodBev Media , March 19, 2019, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Wahaha Pulls Packaging That Claims Its Milk Boosts Breast Size

March 7, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
China’s largest beverage company Hangzhou Wahaha apologized to consumers earlier this month after complaints about an on-package ad showing a young girl praising Vitamin A&D Calcium Milk for its ability to enlarge breasts. The company claimed the ad was a real quote from a consumer. The company issued a statement saying: “Each and every quote used is selected from Internet users’ comments and we have obtained their permission to use them – it’s not a slogan.” Nevertheless, the company said it had stopped using the packaging after social media criticism called the ad misleading and vulgar. Last month, Hainan Coconut Palm Group, maker of a popular coconut milk, was forced to remove ads that showed large-breasted women in skimpy tops alongside slogans such as “I drink from small to big.” 
Mandy Zuo , "Chinese firm Wahaha sorry for label claiming milk drink could make breasts bigger", South China Morning Post, March 07, 2019, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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Carlsberg Buys Into Chinese Microbrewery

March 4, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Danish brewer Carlsberg will assume responsibility for distributing Chinese craft brewery Jing-A’s beer portfolio after acquiring a minority stake in the company. The seven-year-old microbrewery, based in Beijing, produces craft beers for the Chinese market, including Flying Fist IPA, Tuhao Gold Pils, and Koji Red Ale. The microbrewer also operates two bars or “brewpubs” in the country. Jing-A will continue to produce craft and specialty beers while developing its brand. With the investment, “we’ll be able to take the quality of our beers to the next level – including popular seasonal and small-batch beers from our brewpub – and make them more widely available to beer lovers in Beijing and throughout China,” the company said in a statement.
Martin White, "Carlsberg buys minority stake in Chinese craft brewery Jing-A", FoodBev Media , March 04, 2019, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Study Lays Out Coca-Cola’s Efforts To Sway China’s Thinking On Sugary Soft Drinks

January 10, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
China scholar Susan Greenhalgh reports in a new study that Coca-Cola Company cultivated complex personal, institutional, and financial connections in China beginning in the 1970s to inculcate the message that a lack of physical activity – not sugary soft drinks – was the cause of rising obesity rates. The company’s efforts in fact exerted strong influence over the way the Chinese government addressed the country's growing obesity problem. Coca-Cola has promoted its message globally through the nonprofit International Life Science Institute (ILSI), founded by a former Coke executive in 1978. Critics of the ILSI contend that it acts to further the corporate interests of Coca-Cola through 17 international branches positioned mostly in emerging markets, including China. The study was published in the Journal of Public Health Policy and the BMJ.
Jonathan Lambert, "Study: Coca-Cola Shaped China's Efforts To Fight Obesity", NPR, January 10, 2019, © National Public Radio
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Homegrown Food And Beverage Brands Give Multinationals A Run For The Money

December 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
China’s home-grown food and beverage brands are beating multinational competitors among Chinese families, according to research from Kantar World Panel that looked at families in 20 provinces and four municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing). Dairy giant Yili was the most consumed dairy brand among Chinese families last year. Sales rankings of multinationals like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Mars, Mondelez, and Pepsico were evenly distributed across the chart, ranking 5th, 8th, 12th, 13th, and 16th respectively. Among multinational players, the biggest percentage growth (3.2 percent) was achieved by Coca-Cola. Among local brands, percentage growth was highest for Nongfu Spring (eight percent), with 120 million families consuming its products, up from 111 million last year. Nongfu Spring grew its shopper base among young consumers by 30 percent in the last 12 months due to the success of its Victory vitamin water. 
Tingmin Koe , "Beating the MNCs: Mengniu, Yili and Master Kong the three most commonly consumed brands in China", Food Navigator Asia, December 10, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Major Drinks Companies, Retailers And Green Groups Seek To Improve Plastic Recycling In Hong Kong

December 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Beverage companies, green campaigners and others are joining forces to tackle the issue of poor recycling rates in Hong Kong. The voluntary Drink Without Waste initiative was announced by the Single-use Beverage Packaging Working Group, a coalition of charities, drink producers and bottlers, recycling companies, environmental groups and retailers. They are looking at a range of possible initiatives, including installing water dispensers around the city and a “cash on return” scheme for plastic bottles. Manufacturers are also encouraged to look at their packaging to improve recycling rates. In 2017, Hong Kong dumped some 1.7 billion empty drinks containers in landfill or as litter. Two-thirds were plastic bottles. Less than 10 percent of the single-use plastic bottles sent to rubbish tips are recovered and recycled. [Image Credit: © Drink Without Waste]
Ernest Kao, "Major Hong Kong drinks manufacturers join forces with green groups for initiative aimed at increasing city’s dismal recycling rate", South China Morning Post, December 06, 2018, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd
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Nongfu Spring Among Fastest Growing Consumer Goods Companies In China

November 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
According to data from Kantar Worldpanel, consumer brands like Nongfu Spring, Haday, and Dali are the fastest growing in China, each with more than a five percent increase in market penetration in their segments among young consumers, despite an aging population. Bottled water and beverage company Nongfu Spring grew its shopper base among Millennial singles and couples by 30 percent in the last 12 months through the launch of its "Victory" vitamin water. It garnered popularity among young consumers b y sponsoring the hit reality show ‘Idol Producer.' Coca-Cola hopes to grow in the Chinese market by selling smaller packages and new product lines such as fiber drinks to balance demands from young consumers for both nutrition and good flavor. Overall, P&G and Yili were the top two companies with the widest consumer bases, reporting 92.4 percent and 90.9 penetration among urban consumers.
Ding Yining, "Chinese brands outpace multinationals gaining new customers: study", Shine.cn, November 26, 2018, © Shanghai Daily
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Estée Lauder Allows Customers To Star In Their Own Fairytale

October 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Estée Lauder in Hong Kong is using artificial intelligence for its Wonderland Christmas campaign. The customer becomes a part of a virtual fairy tale by creating their own 3-D avatar using the Quantum Human technology. The promotion, held at various retail venues in Hong Kong, includes pop-ups where shoppers can take a ride on a “magical carousel” in a virtual reality fairytale featuring their avatar.[Image Credit: © Estée Lauder Inc]
"AI powers Estee Wonderland Christmas campaign", Inside Retail Asia, October 30, 2018, © InsideRetail Asia
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Nestlé China Doubles Pace Of New Product Launches

October 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé China has launched several innovation projects this year, twice the number launched in 2017, tailored specifically for Chinese consumers. China’s nutrition, health, and wellness market is Nestlé’s second largest globally. The company’s innovation team is pursuing more than 100 ongoing projects that will deliver “more choices through a variety of healthy products over the next two years.” Nestlé has launched the second generation of its “AI family nutrition assistant” XiaoAi with more than 300,000 pieces of new nutrition, health and wellness interactive content, including personalized recipe recommendations, calorie calculation, and voice ordering. The company also launched its MyNutrition App, Nescafé Shop in Office, and BabyNes’ Smart Milk Powder Leveling Kettle.
"Nestlé China Accelerates Innovation", Nestlé China, October 26, 2018, © Nestlé
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Coca-Cola Offers Customized Beverage Bottles, Gift Boxes On China’s Tmall

October 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is launching customized bottle and gift box production on Alibaba's Tmall. The company’s custom-made gift boxes will be limited globally to 30,000 bottles. At the consumers can customize bottles and gift boxes according to their tastes. Peach, lemon, vanilla and classic flavors can be included in the gift box for Tmall. Consumers can match and combine the two or four bottles for the gift boxes, and use the limited stickers of the gift box to further personalize it. Coca-Cola said this is the first time it has applied C2B customization. 
"Coca-Cola to launch C2B customized drink for Tmall’s customers on double 11", China Knowledge , October 17, 2018, © www.chinaknowledge.com
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Big Data And AI Helping Beauty Brands Identify Opportunities, Develop New Products

October 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © Tmall.com]
Amanda Lim , "Data is power: Indie beauty brands get personal with big data", Cosmetics Design Asia, October 05, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Beauty Brands Unveil Smart Concept Stores In China To Attract Tech-Savvy Consumers

October 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

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.[Image Credit: © Procter & Gamble]
Yiling Pan, "In China, Beauty Brands Turn to High-Tech Toys to Plug Their Wares", Jing Daily, October 02, 2018, © Herlar, LLC
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Sephora Unveils A New And Interactive Concept Store in China

September 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.  [Image Credit: © Sephora, Inc.]
Li Xiaohua, "SEPHORA Asian new concept store opens in Shanghai", China.org.cn, September 22, 2018, © China.org.cn
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China’s Millennials Fall In Love With Black Tech Beauty Products

September 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Skincare trends, referred to by industry observers as “black tech”, are becoming popular among millennial consumers in China. Three of the leading black-tech product categories are black-tech facial machines, with the ReFa Electronic Roller from Japan as a leading example; black-tech facial cleansers, such as those from Foreo; and black-tech massage boosters, including those from the SK-II brand. Facial rollers from ReFa accounted for 50 percent of the segment’s revenue in 2017, with more than $4 million worth of ReFa machines sold during the November 11 Singles Day shopping festival. Foreo’s facial cleanser became a social media favorite, with many celebrities posting themselves using the product. SK-II launched a massage booster in 2017, selling all of its 10,000 units during the company’s 2017 TMALL Super Brand Day event.[Image Credit: © ReFa USA]
Jiaqi Luo, "Chinese Millennial Skincare Gets a Black Tech Makeover", Jing Daily, September 14, 2018, © Herlar, LLC
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Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetic Opens Shanghai Pop-Up Store, Marks Coming Into China Market

September 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © CARVERKOREA]
Kang Da-young and Lee Ha-yeon, "S. Korean skincare brand AHC officially enters China", Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea , September 12, 2018, © Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved
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KFC Initiative On Single-Use Plastic in Macau and Hong Kong

September 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © Christopher on pexels.com]
Naomi Ng, "KFC to ditch plastic straws and drink lids for dine-in customers in all of its Hong Kong and Macau restaurants", South China Morning Post , September 07, 2018, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd
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Coca-Cola Hopes To Make The Most Of Growing Chinese Interest In Functional Drinks

August 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The head of Coca-Cola’s China business says “the next big thing” among Chinese consumers – especially the growing class of middle-income consumers – is functional beverages beneficial for health and wellness. With that in mind, the company expects to offer more juice products, beverages containing fiber, and even drinks based on traditional Chinese medicine, according to Curt Ferguson. Coca-Cola began riding the trend when it rolled out new products like sugar-free Sprite with fiber in March, two RTD tea products in North China and South China in the second quarter, and a bottled water range containing fiber in June. A fiber-rich Coca-Cola Plus version for China debuted in August. Bottled water, RTD tea, carbonates, juice drinks, and functional drinks were the biggest sellers in the $84 billion Chinese beverage industry. 
Shi Jing, "Coca-Cola embarks on 'healthy' growth route", China Daily, August 30, 2018, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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China Grants Organic Certification To Sneakz Powders, Milkshakes

August 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Florida-based Sneakz Organic has hurdled a major obstacle to doing business in China. The company, a maker of vegan protein powders and vegetable-based milkshakes, has obtained organic certification from the Chinese government, and will begin shipping its milkshakes there in September. The company will begin shipping its milkshakes, Meal2Go nutrition powder, Kids Vegan Daily Nutrition Smoothie, Meal Replacement Shake, Vitamins On The Go, and Vegan Protein to China in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. Sneakz products contain no GMOs antibiotics or synthetic hormones, and no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or gluten. Sneakz is also targeting Malaysia by end of 2018 and Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Korea by Q2 2019.
Lester Wan , "First U.S. firm to obtain China organic label for veggie-infused milk drinks will ship in September", Food Navigator Asia, August 21, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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My Specialist From Schwarzkopf Provides Online Personalized Hair Care

August 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Schwarzkopf’s new My Specialist brand claims to offer customized hair care online, based on microscopic testing, through an exclusive deal in China with T-Mall. The Henkel brand, together with the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, has created a test that assesses the hair’s dryness and damage. This is supplemented by a questionnaire to provide an evaluation that can be treated with personalized products.[Image Credit: © Henkel Corporation]
Lucy Whitehouse , "Schwarzkopf hair care ‘e-brand’ launch: next level personalisation", Cosmetics Design Europe, August 10, 2018, © William Reed Business Media
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Wahaha To Introduce Functional Probiotic Beverages For Women, Children, Elderly

August 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Hangzhou Wahaha Group is targeting women, children, and the elderly with three new functional probiotic beverages packaged in sachets. The products contain several probiotic strains, including several Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. The children’s and women’s products contain five types of probiotics and three types of prebiotics (fiber). The product for the elderly claims to help to reduce blood sugar level and promote the absorption of calcium, while the product for women is said to aid detoxification. China accounts for almost half of all probiotic sales in the Asia Pacific region, at $8.3 billion. The Asia Pacific probiotics market is forecast to grow by a CAGR of 8.3 percent over the next seven years, but China will continue to track higher than the average.
Tingmin Koe , "China beverage firm Wahaha to launch new probiotic range as it ramps up health focus ", Nutra-Ingredients, August 02, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Meitu Opens Meivolution Festival Highlighting AI Technologies For Beauty Applications

July 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © Meitu]
Zhu Shenshen, "Beauty app holds its first off-line party in Shanghai", Shine.cn, July 20, 2018, © Shanghai Daily
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Innisfree Introduces New Retail-Equipped Store In China

July 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Korean cosmetics company Innisfree launched its first New Retail store in China. Located at the Li Xing Shopping Plaza in the country’s Hangzhou region, the store comes with New Retail digital and interactive features. Developed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma in 2016, New Retail is designed to use technology to combine online and offline shopping “into one comprehensive channel”. It offers customers convenience whether buying through an app or at an offline store. New Retail features include Magic Mirror, an AR-enabled technology which lets consumers virtually try makeup products; Smart Skin Analyzer, which analyzes the user’s skin and recommends the best Innisfree products based on the skin report; and Vending Machine, which lets consumers buy products at discounted prices using the Taobao mobile app.[Image Credit: © Innisfree Corporation]
Jenny W. Hsu, "Innisfree Rejuvenates Its Store Experience in China", Alizila.com, July 20, 2018, © Alibaba Group Holding Limited
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China’s Beverage Industry Is Strong, Growing

July 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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 Nestlė and Danone. Jia Duo Bao (JDB), known as China’s Coca-Cola, expects two-digit sales growth this year.
Tingmin Koe , "China's beverage sector booming: New players enter market and exports stay strong", Food Navigator ASIA, July 11, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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AI Technology Runs Smart Stores In China Built By Coca-Cola, Yi Tunnel

June 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A smart self-service convenience store selling Coca-Cola beverages in Changsha, China – without clerks or cash – is part of a new experiment in the country under Coke’s “520 Program” promoting the growth of women entrepreneurship. The hi-tech cooler was built by jointly by Coca-Cola and YI Tunnel using AI technology. Smart stores like the one in Changsha not only attract younger consumers, they are more efficient to operate, according to Yi Tunnel, which expects more traditional convenience and retail stores to also adopt the technology.

"Coca-Cola China Teams Up With YI Tunnel to Build the First AI-Based Smart Freezer and Test the Waters for the AI-Enabled New Retail", Newswire.com , June 21, 2018, © Newswire.com LLC
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Coca-Cola’s Video “Message Of Friendship” Shows Solidarity With Muslims

June 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A Coca-Cola video showing a passerby offering a Coke to a Muslim woman – “a victim of harsh stares and mockery” – who is ending her day of fast during Ramadan was intended to be “a simple but universal message of friendship, kindness, solidarity and inclusiveness with millions of Muslims.” Reaction on the internet was mainly positive – commenters called it “moving” and “meaningful” – but naysayers noted that Coke is “not an ideal beverage to breakfast with as it is unhealthy.” A Coca-Cola spokesman, nevertheless, said sharing a Coke brings people closer and the company’s beverages are enjoyed in Muslim communities everywhere at the end of each day of the Ramadan fast.

Janice Tan, "Coca-Cola shows support for Muslim consumers with uplifting Ramadan ad", Marketing Interactive, June 08, 2018, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd.
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Alibaba Cloud Creates System For Raising Better Hogs

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

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.[Image Credit: © Alibaba]

Jenny W. Hsu, "That’s Some Pig: How AI’s Serving Up Better Pork in China", Alizila, June 07, 2018, © Alibaba Group Services Limited
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Chinese Companies Lure Aussie Consumers With Beauty Tech

June 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Chinese cosmetic conglomerate Jala Group is touring Australian cities, in partnership with Alibaba’s e-commerce arm Tmall, to promote its products, including a smart mirror. The augmented reality (AR) tool allows users to take a selfie using an in-built webcam and then shows them how they look with different make-up choices. Users can scan and buy their preferred choices through QR codes that appear onscreen. Jala has built four key brands (Maysu, Chando, Botanical Wisdom and Insea ) over the last 17 years to develop its presence in technology, innovation and design, in partnership with firms in Japan, France and the US.[Image Credit: © JALA Corporation]

Natasha Spencer , "Hi-tech Chinese cosmetics retailer hits Australia", Cosmetics Design Asia, June 01, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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China A Focus For Automated Store Innovation

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

China has become the focus for companies looking to automate the physical shopping experience. Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com have all opened automated stores in the last few months, at the start of what they believe will be a large-scale rollout of personnel-free shops. The Chinese consumer's openness to high tech and willingness to try something new is expected to drive unprecedented growth of the retail industry in China as the country's 724 million mobile phone users increasingly accept mobile transactions. Improving internet connectivity and smartphone penetration are expected to boost sales even further, and retailers are also having to deal with labor pressures due to an aging population and the trend of millennials leaving retail to seek higher-paid work.

Ralph Jennings, "Why Unmanned Stores Are About To Take Off In China's Retail Market", Forbes.com, May 14, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Alibaba Deploys Blockchain Pilot To Ensure Food Authenticity

April 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © congerdesign from Pixabay]
Steven Millward, "Alibaba rolls out blockchain pilot to tackle fake food products", Tech in Asia, April 30, 2018, © Tech in Asia
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Coca-Cola Unveils New Cans In Celebration of 23 Chinese Cities

April 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola China has unveiled limited edition Coke can designs that celebrate the diversity of 23 Chinese cities.  The “visually captivating” packaging, created by McCann Shanghai and illustrator Noma Bar, is being promoted with a film celebrating city cultures, as well as print, billboards and a partnership with Chinese technology firm Baidu. The firm developed an augmented reality (AR) experience in which consumers may interact with the 23 city cans. According to a Coca-Cola design executive, the idea behind the city can is to capture the “essence” of each metropolis through its culture, food, “idiosyncrasies,” and landmarks.

"Coca-Cola China celebrates city cultures through ‘Faces of the cities’", Marketing-Interactive.com, April 19, 2018, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd
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