China’s Heijingang targets high-end consumers to compete with foreign brands
Heijingang's founder and CEO, Jingang Deng’s has sought to create a brand Chinese consumers enjoy as much as foreign imports since 1990 when he started the confectionery business, the company’s vice general manager Bin Zhang told ConfectioneryNews.
Animal-shaped chocolate product
The firm's new animal-shaped chocolate product - yet to be named - will be showcased at a conference with Heijingang’s distributors in August. It will officially enter the market nationwide in October, when most students start their new semester. The brand will retail for 39.8 RMB ($6.15) per box.
“[Our new product] targets people between 18 to 35 years old. It’ll be as expensive as most western brands,” Zhang said, “but we are still deciding which animal shape to make our chocolates into.”
He added Heijingang wouldn’t display the new product at the China Candy & Snacks Expo this year to avoid possible plagiarism by other chocolate companies.
Focus on quality
After a series of food incidents reported in China, Zhang said creating a food product that consumers feel safe to purchase is Heijingang's priority.
“Most Chinese chocolates are made with cocoa butter replacer, but our products are made with pure cocoa butter,” he said.
Zhang claimed Heijingang is the only Chinese chocolate company that continues manufacturing products during the chocolate slack season (from March to September), because its chocolates products have much shorter shelf life due to the warm weather.
The competition is fierce among lower-end chocolate brands
According to a report by China Candy, the Chinese chocolate market has grown 10% annually. After Le Conte was sold and Golden Monkey was acquired, most domestic brands, which make up the lower-end chocolate market, are competing against each other fiercely.
Shanghai Ze Yun Biotech Company’s sales manager, Zhongwei Ding, suggested new Chinese chocolate businesses should operate in the lower-end market, and compete among higher-end market only when their businesses become mature enough.
“Besides Heijingang, Cho Lo (Qiao Luo) has also been doing well among the higher-end market,” Ding added its "...handcrafted chocolate tastes authentically sweet, and it’s comparable to Dove Chocolate in China.”