Hite plans big bottled water launch in South Korea

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bottled water South korea

South Korean brewer Hite announced Friday it work with Jinro, the
country's leading distiller, to create the leading bottled water
brand on the national market.

Hite, which recently bought Jinro, said it would merge the two's Puriss and Seoksu water brands in order to launch a new brand that will beat market leader Saemmul, which has a 12 per cent market share, according to local media reports.

New research, completed by drinks consultancy Zenith International​, predicts that global consumption per person of bottled water will overtake that of carbonated soft drinks within five years.

Western Europe still has the largest consumption rate, yet the report said the Asia/Australasia region was thought to be on the verge of taking over the number one spot this year.

Hite and Jinro, as established drinks firms on the South Korean market, would be well-placed to take advantage of this trend on their home market.

The launch of a native, bottled water super-brand could also provide stiffer competition to multinational bottled water makers such as Danone and Nestlé - at a time when they and others are looking to Asia Pacific as a significant emerging consumer market.

Hite has already performed well in beer over the last few years, according to Danish beer giant Carlsberg, which bought a 25 per cent stake in the South Korean brewer in 1999.

Carlsberg, nevertheless, lowered its stake in Hite to 13.1 per cent last December in an effort to pay off debt. It said the remaining stake had a market value of €294.6m, and still made Carlsberg the second largest investor in Hite.

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