P&G's Pepper spells out strategic importance of China

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BEIJING -- China is to remain at the very highest level of priority in Procter & Gamble's global strategy, according to John Pepper, P&G's chairman and chief executive officer.

"Actually, (our) emphasis on China has been high for many years,'' he said, indicating that the country's performance amid the financial turmoil in the East and Southeast Asian region has strengthened its confidence in China.

According to a report by the Beijing-based Business Weekly, the stellar performance of P&G's investments in China in the past few years has vindicated its Chinese investment strategy.

Since setting up its first joint venture in China in 1988, P&G has established 11 joint ventures and wholly-owned firms in cities such as Beijing, Chengdu and Tianjin, with total investment volume surpassing $300 million.

In 1997, the company's Chinese sales hit $1 billion, partly offsetting its weakness in Germany and Japan.

"There exist enormous technology talents in China,'' Mr. Pepper said. In the past 10 years, P&G's products have entered the majority of Chinese urban households thanks to their reliable quality and effective advertising. The company currently markets 14 brands in China, including Head & Shoulders, Tide and Pringles.

In order to increase local sourcing of raw materials, P&G has been attempting to attract overseas investment into China to develop its basic industries. As a result, several international raw materials suppliers, including RhonePoulenc of France, have come to invest in China.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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