Benckiser relaunches Power 28

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BEIJING - Power 28, one of China's best-known domestic detergent brands, is relaunching with a new formula, packaging and image. The relaunch will pluck on local heart strings with a "buy Chinese brands" drive - even though Power 28 itself is now produced by a joint venture. Nearly all other Chinese-made detergents have changed their brand names to re-emerge in joint ventures with foreign companies. Power 28, however, is one of the few Chinese detergents to keep its old name.

The brand is manufactured by Power-Benckiser Detergent and Cleaning Products Co Ltd, a joint venture in which the Hubei-based Power 28 Group, a company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, has 40% interest and Germany's Benckiser has 60%. Senior executives of the joint venture said they are stepping up marketing campaigns for Power 28 in its new formulation to bring back Chinese consumers' old favorite with German cutting-edge technology.

In the 1980s, Power 28 dominated the country's detergent market. But since China opened the detergent market in the early 1990s, many foreign multinationals have entered the country and Power 28's market share fell to one-third from its two-thirds share in 1994. Power-Benckiser, established in April this year, has incorporated the technology of Benckiser, one of the world's leading detergent firms. Benckiser began the strategy of promoting local brands on local markets six years ago in Italy and Spain.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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