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China cola heads for US

13-May-2004

Hangzhou Wahaha, one of China's leading manufacturers of fizzy drinks has made its premier shipment of cola carbonated drinks to the US, a first for a Chinese company.

The company said that a shipment of 170,400 600ml bottles of Future Cola - had already arrived in the US and that distribution through its trading partner C.K. Manpolo would begin next month. Initially the cola is expected to be distributed in New York and Los Angelese, where the large Chinese communities are expected to be the first customers.

A spokeperson for Manpolo confirmed that the shipment had been made, but declined to comment on how much the cola would sell for in the US and exactly which retail outlets it would be first distributed to.

 

Currently Future Cola is distributed throughout China and is particularly well represented in rural areas, where it is associated as being a luxury product. Generally it retails for around €0.20 in China, but shipping and transport costs are expected to add a considerable premium for US retailers.

 

The US market for carbonated drinks is led by three main players, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola and UK-based Cadbury-Schweppes. Colas dominate the top positions in the fizzy drink stakes with the three companies easily capturing the top ten positions.

 

In China Hangzhou Wahaha has carved a significant 7 per cent of the soda market since its inception in 1998, making it the leading domestic player. However, it still falls a long way behind leading players Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. Coca-Cola currently has the largest share of the market at 24 per cent and the company believes that its interests there will overtake the US as its largest market during the course of the next ten years.

 

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