Danone has invested in China since 1987 and the market has moved from being a new frontier with huge potential to a growth engine of great strategic importance for Danone’s global activities.
The development of Danone in China has followed a similar path to worldwide markets, beginning with the launch of a yoghurt range in the 1980s and then sustained expansion throughout the 1990s and the new millennium. In this time, Danone has continued to introduce and develop a broad range of both international and local product lines for the Chinese market. Brands such as Mizone, Health, Evian, Badoit, Dumex, Nutrilon, Karicare, Activia and Nutricia command high levels of brand loyalty among Chinese consumers.
The acquisition of Dumex and Nutricia in 2007 was the opportunity for Danone to include Baby Nutrition and Medical Nutrition as part of its full portfolio; Dumex is the market leader today in China. The re-launch of Activia in 2009 was also a key event for Danone in China.
The Chinese infant formula market is highly attractive, with significant growth forecast due to rising household incomes, ongoing urbanization and the second child policy which has recently been rolled out in certain regions. To make the most of this dynamism and bring business back to pre-Fonterra levels, Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition China has adopted in 2014 a multi-brand strategy to improve cover of the various different distribution channels and price bands. The historic Dumex brand is one pillar of this strategy; another is the accelerated development of the company’s international brands, such as Aptamil, Karicare, Cow & Gate and Nutrilon. A new “Nutrilon Premium” range was developed specifically for the Chinese market. This innovation gives Danone a foothold in the ultra-premium segment, the most dynamic in the category.
Danone has also optimized its presence across different distribution channels to develop links with mothers. The company is indeed investing more heavily in the growing network of specialized stores for mothers and children (where more than 40% of sales are made). Mothers come to these stores for advice on feeding their babies and young children. Danone also continues to develop e-commerce, an efficient way of connecting with consumers, via a dedicated team.
This project aims at restoring Jiaquan watershed in Longmen county, through the awareness and empowerment of local communities around sustainable agriculture actions, to help promote a sustainable management of watersheds while improving and securing the water supply of Yili brand.
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