Drinking upmarket bottled water has become chic for China’s sophisticated shoppers. The thirst for the right brands is growing despite rising prices as consumers go for the healthy option and leave fizzy, sugary soft drinks on the shelves…Full Article: China Daily Sept 2017

Key Points

  • In July 2017, Reignwood Group (see Red Bull) began distributing VOSS, a high-end bottled water brand from Norway. A month later, France’s Danone launched its Aoraki (New Zealand) brand of bottled water on an e-commerce platform in Shanghai.
  • In March 2017, Shenzhen Ganten Food and Beverage launched its Blairquhan series of upmarket mineral and sparkling water for approximately CNY 15 [~USD 2.26] per bottle. The bottled water marketed to hotels, cinemas, bars, cafés, and high-end department stores.
  • In 2016, according to Mintel, China’s bottled water industry was worth CNY 60.7 billion (USD 9.1 billion), with 25.9 billion liters of bottled water consumed. By 2021, this market is forecasted to reach CNY 86.5 billion (~30.6 billion liters of bottled water).

ChinaAg Comments

  • In January 2016, China’s State Council published guidelines on instituting a tiered pricing system for water usage. These guidelines included stipulations that cash crop farmers and livestock companies would be charged a higher price based on their respective goods garnering higher values in the market place. Additionally, prices for groundwater would be higher than surface water if the former is in low supply.
  • From 2015 to 2016, according to Tibet’s Deputy Director of the Regional Industry and Information Technology Department, sales of bottled water from Tibet increased by 41% from approximately 425,531 to 600,000 MTs. Tibet has roughly 400 billion cubic meters worth of water resources.
  • In 2015, according to the Deputy Director of Guizhou’s Economic and Information Commission, the province’s 727 bottled water companies produced 3.28 million metric tons of bottled water, making it China’s 7th largest bottled water producer.
  • In November 2015, the Tibetan government announced plans to increase the region’s bottled drinking water output to 5 million MTs annually by 2020. By 2025, Tibet will reportedly have five major bottlers (i.e. > 1 million MTs annual capacity) of natural drinking water.
  • In 2014, China’s bottled water market totaled US$18.5 billion in retail sales, behind only the USA at US$18.8 billion. The top Chinese bottled water companies at the time were Ting Hsin International Group (see Tingyi – HKG:0322) at a 12% market share, Yangshengtang (see Nongfu Spring) at 11.4%, China Resources Enterprise (C’est Bon brand) at 10.8%, Hangzhou Wahaha at 10.8%, and Coca-Cola at 5.6%.
  • In 2013, Capri Sun signed a cooperation/distribution agreement with Reignwood, which boosted the former’s distribution network.
  • In December 2013, Red Bull announced it would begin selling its eponymous international product (i.e. silver and blue can) in China.
  • In May 2013, Chinese water bottlers were pushing for a national unified standard for bottled water. During the same month, Beijing officials ordered Nongfu Spring (see Yangshengtang) to stop production of its 19-liter barrel drinking product over quality issues. According to Nongfu Spring, they used the water quality standard (#DB33833) of Zhejiang province, which covers 57 quality measures. At the same time, Fujian province has 28 quality measures, Hunan province 37, Chongqing has 25, and Guangdong has 40 measures.
  • In April 2013, a rival bottle water company based in Guangdong province claimed Nongfu Spring produces substandard water.
  • In 1995, Red Bull began supplying a local/domestic version of its Red Bull (“Hong Niu”) product in China.
  • Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, Yangshengtang (Yang Sheng Tang) is a health care product manufacturer whose product line includes vitamins, nutritional supplements, protein powder, and beverages. Founded in 1996, Nongfu Spring is the bottled water division of Yangshengtang. Nongfu Spring’s product line includes bottled water, fruit water, vitamin water, tea, and juice.
  • Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Beijing, Reignwood Group is the Chinese distributor of Red Bull (energy drink), Vita Coco (coconut water), and Capri Sun (juice concentrate drink).

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