What is more refreshing than drinking water in this hot weather in Shanghai? China is the world’s largest market for bottled water. The poor tap-water quality, increasing health awareness, higher income levels, and international tourism is fueling demand. Bottled water sales in China grew tremendously from US$1 billion in 2000 to US$ 14 billion in 2014. Analysts anticipate an annual growth rate of between 5% and 12 % between 2015 and 2025.

However, China’s bottled water market is highly fragmented and localized. Few leading companies are holding more than half of the market share. This article will present you with the landscape of China’s water market and some of the leaders of the industry.

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Overview of China’s water market

Poised to become a superpower, China confronts some of the most serious environmental threats in the world. Statistics show China is among the world’s 13 thirstiest countries.  As a country with the largest population, about 400 from 699 cities are short of water, threatening the daily consumption of more than 30 million citizens and causing annual economic losses of more than US$ 14.5 billion.

The government is taking reasonable measures, one of them was to invest US$ 87 billion in environmental protection programs focusing on water, drinking water and air pollution control. We could optimistically expect a great improvement in China’s water treatment industry in the near future.

There are a lot of active Chinese companies in the field of water and water treatment or drinking water, this number has been increasing and is expected to increase further. This is an emerging environmental industry where China is opening its environmental protection industries to overseas investors and expects the sector to grow at an annual rate of 14-17% in the following years.

The mistrust over water safety boost the bottled water market

In early 2013, 7,500 rotten pig carcasses were found floating in the Huangpu River. As the river supplies 80% of tap water to shanghai, you can imagine in what state people’s and mass media was at that time… Although the authorities have guaranteed the quality of the city’s drinking water, residents have remained concerned about water safety, and many of them have stopped drinking tap water and are buying bottled water instead.

The fast growth in this market is because of the mistrust over water safety. The country only has about 6.5% of the planet’s renewable water resources to sustain one-fifth of the world’s population. Chinese chose to drink boiled tap water or bottled water instead of using a home water filtration system.

In 2013, China surpassed America, becoming the world’s biggest bottled water market by volume. According to China Daily, the market has steadily grown in the years from 2010 to 2015, from 19 billion to 37 billion liters of bottled water. It is expected to reach 49 million tons of total annual consumption by 2020. China is the world’s biggest bottled water market in terms of increasing.

The three leaders of the water market in China

Kang Shi Fu (康师傅)

Kangshifu Water respects the national drinking water hygiene standard (GB5749). It was part of the Chinese beverage industry’s top 20 in the 30th year after the reform and opening-up policy. In 2008, the company was named China’s Beverage Industry Water Saving Outstanding Enterprise.

Kangshifu is also well-known for its food products in China.

Nong Fu spring (农夫山泉)

Nongfu Spring Co. Ltd., formerly known as “Zhejiang Thousand Island Lake Yangshengtang Drinking Water Co., Ltd.”, is headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, holding a company of Yangshengtang. It was founded on September 26, 1996. The company is a drinking water production company in mainland China with eight high-quality water source bases.

Nongfu shanquan has recently made a great marketing campaign, sponsoring some popular web shows such as “the rap of China”.

Wahaha (哇哈哈)

Wahaha Purified Water, since its listing in 1996, has built its excellent quality image with its world-leading production equipment, advanced secondary reverse osmosis technology and ozone sterilization process. It is highly favored by chines consumers and has been recognized by the country as the “national inspection-free products” and won the “China Top Brand” award.

Wahaha’s brand representative is Wang Leehom, a popular singer in China.

How to market in china’s water market?

Bet on the digital channel to develop your reputation in China. Even the biggest companies and brands are using social media to reach their consumers. Chinese people are very connected online and the impact of social networks on individuals is immense in China

Social media in China

They have the advantage to promote and interact with consumers in a way closer. Companies move away from the overly commercial image and can better get people’s attention. The Chinese consumer will purchase your product if he or she has already heard about it, whether it is online or from another person.

The competition is quite huge in China, to make the difference from your competitors you have to be smarter. Managing an online presence and increase your reputation are important.

Optimize your visibility on Baidu

Chinese people are known to make a lot of research online. Baidu is the first search engine in China, you can find all kinds of question (it is almost like if you have any question, you will find that someone else has already asked it on Baidu before). Anyway, being well-positioned on the Chinese internet sphere is very needed if you want to develop your visibility among consumers. It is also about a question of trust, more easily you target consumers can find your brand and information on it, more they will be reassured.

Go digital, Try e-commerce

Chinese consumers are more willing to purchase online because of the convenience and the greater range of available items on e-commerce platforms. Nowadays, Chinese consumers have a huge appetite for foreign products and e-commerce platforms have become the channels of choices for Chinese shoppers looking to purchase such items. Take a look at the most popular e-commerce platforms JD and Tmall here.

Our agency offers a complete range of services for e-commerce marketers from e-commerce consulting to digital marketing operations. We have developed many successful e-commerce projects because we know how to effectively promote your e-commerce business in China by using the latest digital tools.

China is a promising and huge market nowadays, with several booming industries, and the water market is definitely one of them. Want to start a business in China? We are specialized in digital marketing in the Chinese market. Do not hesitate to contact Gentlemen Marketing Agency for further discussions.

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  1. Very good article aboutbottled water in china

    Do you know if ecommerce can be the way for exporting bottled water to china

    What is the bottled water sales in china, the Size amount ?

    Where can I know the bottled water prices in china

    Do you know if coca cola have bottled water in china ? or just Soda ?
    I work for a premium water in china

  2. Hello
    Iam pastor Godson Osondu from nigeria I want to establish a pure industry I wanted to get acquainted through you tnx

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