SHANGHAI - Coca-Cola announced earlier this week that it has produced its first "billion dollar brand" in an emerging market, underscoring the company's global growth strategy as sales remain flat in developed markets, Reuters reports.
Minute Maid Pulpy has become Coke's 14th brand to achieve sales of at least $1 billion, a status achieved by the likes of Coke Zero and Diet Coke. It is the first time that a Coke brand has been launched in an emerging market and has reached the billion-dollar mark, according to Andres Kiger, senior director of integrated marketing communications for Coca-Cola in China.
"What makes this one important for us is that this was started here, in an emerging market, China, and that's a testament to China," Kiger said.
Coke developed Minute Maid Pulpy in China and released the beverage in 2005; it is now sold in 18 markets including Algeria, Mexico, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Analysts said the trend of launching products in China and later exporting them to other countries would likely continue.
"China is going to be used as a test base for new food and beverage products, because of its huge and diverse population. If it can succeed in China, chances are it will overseas," said Marie Jiang, a retail analyst with Pacific Epoch.
According to 2010 data from Euromonitor, China's soft drinks industry is expanding at a compounded annual growth rate of 12.8 percent, with its juice drink segment growing at 16.2 percent annually.
Euromonitor said it expects China's juice market to more than double to $23.9 billion by 2015.
Coke has increased its investments in developing countries as part of a strategy to double by 2020 its $100 billion of total global revenue in 2009.