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Source: Global Times Global Times

Firms see bright future for high-end water

Published: 13 Aug 2009 09:02:01 PST

By Zhao Qian

The high-end bottled drinking water market is huge in China but some domestic companies feel there’s room for even a brighter future, especially for Chinese brands.

This is true despite the fact that foreign companies have long tapped the domestic market, officials at some water companies said yesterday.

“We predict that there will be 20 million to 30 million consumers who will drink high-quality water in the near future,” said Fang Wenge, president of Hong Kong-based China Water Group.

“We prefer to enter into the high-end market, because the lower-end market has been saturated,” Fang said.

Currently, a subsidiary of China Water Group – Guangzhou Xinchen Water Co – produces “Nine Thousand Year Dagu Glacier Water,” which is sourced from a glacier in Sichuan Province.

“Consumers of high-quality water are those who pursue a high-quality life and have a high salary,” Fang said.

Each bottle of 335-milliliter water costs about 11 yuan ($1.61), much more than the average bottles that go for about 1 yuan ($0.15) in stores.

Some other local bottled water companies, including Tibet Glacier Mineral Water and Shenzhen Ganten Industry, are also striving to expand into the high-end drinking water market.

Foreign companies such as Evian of France has been in China for some 20 years and remains competitive.

But Fang doesn’t see Evian as a threat.

“Thanks to Evian, the image of water has been changed for the Chinese consumers,” Fang said.

“In the past, they did not want to pay such a large amount of money to buy a small bottle of water,” he added.

Fang said his “Nine Thousand Year Dagu Giacier Water” would eventually become China’s Evian.

Fang Jian, an Evian sales manager in Dalian, said that the small local brands are unlikely to catch up with Evian, not to mention the competitions brought by other foreign brands.

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