With their tangy sauces and sachets of dried meat and vegetables, instant noodles were once the bedrock of China’s convenience food, but their sales had declined drastically in recent years. For Geng Mei, an English teacher in Beijing, munching bowls full of steaming instant noodles was a highlight of her childhood…Full Article: Xinhua Dec 2017

Key Points

  • According to a professor at Shanghai’s Tongji University, there are multiple reasons behind the decline of Chinese instant noodle consumption. First, China’s migrant population, a key consumer of instant noodles, has been in decline. Second, China’s railways have shunned instant noodles in favor of readymade meals and imported foods. Last, the rise of food delivery companies has given consumers more choice when it comes to quick meals.
  • In 2017, Tingyi Holdings (Master Kong) sold its noodle and beverage factories in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province.
  • From 2013 to 2016, Tingyi Holdings (Master Kong) saw their revenue decrease from USD 4.3 billion to USD 3.2 billion.

ChinaAg Comments

  • From 2016 to 2017, according to the World Instant Noodles Association, Chinese (mainland and Hong Kong) consumption of instant noodles increased slightly from 38.5 billion servings to 38.9 billion servings.
  • In July 2017, Uni-President Enterprises (UPE) and President Chain Store Corp (PCSC) sold their respective 20% and 30% shares in President Starbucks Coffee Shanghai Corp to Seattle-based Starbucks for USD 1.33 billion. Afterwards, Starbucks gained full control of approximately 1,300 Starbucks outlets in the eastern Chinese provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, as well as Shanghai (~600 outlets). At the same time, UPE and PCSC purchased a 50% stake in Taiwan’s President Starbucks Coffee Corp, giving the two companies full control of Taiwan’s Starbucks outlets.
  • In January 2017, Master Kong instant noodles announced they would exit (dissolution of subsidiary) the Taiwanese market. During the same month, an online promotion between LeEco (tech company) and Master Kong suffered from computer code glitches. According to an unnamed source, 100,000 LeEco memberships were sold in the black market for very low prices. In addition, more than 500,000 codes for Master Kong’s noodle products were also impacted by the reported glitch.
  • In November 2016, Uni-President sold its stake in Guangdong Jianlibao for CNY 950 million [~USD 137 million].
  • In May 2016, Uni-President sold its 47.83% stake in Hebei’s Jinmailang Food (instant noodles) for CNY 1.29 billion [~USD 186 million].
  • In April 2016, a report published in China noted that farmers are becoming more unwilling to move to the city/urban centers for work. According to a report that polled Chinese farmers, approximately 51% expressed interest in moving to urban centers, including 11.8% who indicated a “high interest”. The other 49% of respondents expressed no interest in leaving rural areas.
  • From 2011 to 2015, China’s migrant population increased from 252.8 million to 277.5 million. However, the actually proportional year-on-year growth rate has slowed since 2011. Approximately 66% of China’s migrant population are men.
  • From 2010 to 2015, according to Mintel Group, Chinese retail sales of instant noodles increased by 2.2% to CNY 65.3 billion [~US$10.4 billion]. However, in 2020, sales are forecasted to decline to CNY 62.1 billion. The four companies of Tingyi Holdings (Master Kong), Uni-President, Baixiang and Jinmailang account for 80% of China’s instant noodle sales.
  • In 2014, Tingyi Holdings (Master Kong) had a 42.2% share of China’s instant noodle market. Tingyi Holdings was followed by Uni-President 13.3%, Jinmailang Food at 11.5%, Baixiang Food at 10.5%, Si Mei Te Food at 4.3%, Nissin Foods Holdings at 3.2%, Henan Nanjiecun Group at 1.5%, and Nongshim at 1.2%.
  • In October 2014, Ting Hsin International Group (parent company of Tingyi) was implicated in the Taiwan’s cooking oil scandal [mixing cooking oil and animal feed oil for retail sale]. The subsequent fallout irrevocably damaged sales of its instant noodles on the island.
  • Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Tianijn, Tingyi (Cayman Islands), subsidiary of Ting Hsin International Group (HKG:0322) is a beverage and instant noodle producer/distributor.

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