China to lead Unilever's Asia Pacific ambitions

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Unilever, Japan

Unilever, the world's second largest food company, is to increase
its focus on its Chinese operations to allow the country to meet
its potential as a market leader in the Asia Pacific food industry.

Speaking to the press earlier this week, Zeng Xiwen, vice president of the company in China, revealed that with year on year sales growth well into double figures, the country could replace India as the regions most dynamic market for Unilever during the next decade.

"The booming consumer spending and surging economy fuelled a strong sales performance in China,"​ he said.

For all its potential, Xiwen revealed that China was currently Unilever's third most dynamic market in the region - trailing behind India and Indonesia.

However, despite its current position, China is rapidly gaining ground on its local rivals, last year seeing sales jump by more than 20 per cent to around €495m.

As a result the company is keen to facilitate its growing presence in the country by enhancing its administrative and production capabilities.

Unilever already houses its third largest office in the world in Shanghai, and aims to expand it by 24,000-square-metres, in a move that will almost double its capacity next year, in a bid meet demand.

"The new China headquarters will be upgraded into the regional centre of Asia Pacific, with staff and R&D people transferred here from Japan, Singapore, Australia and the United States,"​ said Xiwen.

He also announced plans to increase the output of its Hefei production plant in Anhui province, a move expected to create Unilever's largest manufacturing facility.

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