Chinese beverage firms urged to develop brands, diversify products

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BEIJING - China's beverage firms are taking insufficient steps to cater for the fast-growing demandfor natural-tasting beverages with nutritional ingredients, according to He Jihong, manager of the China Sugarand Wine Trade Fair Office.

The majority of local producers in the mineral waterand fruit juice sector are small-scale operators, usingout of date technology and equipment, He Jihong says inthe local Business Weekly Report. To ensure that theysustain or develop their leading 80% market share in thissector, local producers need to upgrade equipment, improveproduct quality and develop new brands.

The demand for natural and healthy drinks may soon catchup with demand for carbonated drinks, currently the marketleader, representing about a third of the domestic beveragemarket sector, says He Jihong. The Coca-Cola and Spritebrands represent almost half of the carbonated beveragemarket.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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