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Japanese beverage makers target Southeast Asia market

Publication Date : 30-04-2014

 

Major Japanese beverage makers plan to take advantage of promising economic growth in Southeast Asia by boosting sales in the region through joint ventures with local firms, purchasing local makers or by other means.

Kirin Holdings Co. plans to launch dairy products in Vietnam by the end of this year, at the earliest. Through a Vietnamese company under its umbrella, Kirin will sell dairy products made by Lion Pty, a subsidiary in Australia.

“The business opportunities are there. We’ll find a way,” said Senji Miyake, the company president.

On April 10, Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. announced it will purchase a Malaysian dairy product company for about 33 billion yen (US$322 million).

In Indonesia, Asahi also established a joint venture firm with a major local food maker and now sells new green tea product brands in the country.

In 2012, Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. took a stake in a beverage maker in Vietnam, which is operated by PepsiCo Inc. of the United States.

With the local firm, Suntory sells Pepsi-Cola and other products and is making steady efforts to exploit the market by developing oolong tea better suited to the taste of the Vietnamese.

The efforts by Japanese beverage makers stem not only from expected market growth in Southeast Asia, but also because of the increasingly shrinking market at home and projected fall in the Japanese population.

According to Euromonitor International Ltd., a British market research company, the market size of beverages in Southeast Asia has continued to grow at 6 per cent or higher annually since 2008, and is expected to be about 1.8 times larger in 2018 than in 2008.

In 2018, about 57 million kilolitres of beverages will likely be consumed in the region.

Yoshiyasu Okihira, a senior analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., said: “Demands for tea in other parts of Asia have been increasing. This is an opportunity for Japanese companies to make their presence felt.”

 

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