chocolate export china

Chocolate in China is a booming Market and more and more brands are investing to catch the attention of Chinese middle Class consumers. We will analyze the Market Trends, and solution to Sell in China.

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Chocolate in China

Status quo of Imported Chocolate market

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Seen as an exotic food product, it has taken decades for Chinese people to accept chocolate.

Now the Chinese market is ready for chocolate from the taste and the culture.

According to the data from the Association of Chinese Chocolate Manufacturer, Chinese consumers 70 grams of chocolate per capita every year. This data is dwarfed by 2 kilos that of Japan and Korea, needless to say, 7 kilos of one European. However, multiplied by 1.3 billion the size of the market which is ¥3.5 billion is a huge potential as well.

That also explains why the Chinese market can witness a 40% annual growth in 2008 when the global growth is only 10% and report from Bain estimates that the annual growth will stay around 11% in the next 5 years and it looks quite negative compared with that of 30% from AC Nielsen report. No matter which one comes true, the huge potential of the market has been recognized by everybody. The huge population means a big potential to drive the chocolate business up when chocolate consumption per capita reaches 1 kilo.

So far, the top 20 chocolate makers have already presented in the market. In a common supermarket in Shanghai, you can easily find chocolate of over 70 brands. Most of them are foreign brands. The study on the consumption habit of Chinese chocolate consumers also indicates that foreign brand chocolate is more popular in the market.

  • 1% of the consumers prefer foreign brands
  • only 22.2% like local brands more

And local companies still need time to improve this totally imported food product. As a result, about 90% of the market is occupied by foreign brands. The big four (biggest four companies in China chocolate market: Dove, Ferrero, Cadbury and Leconte) have taken over 70% of the market. Only Leconte is a local brand. Among the three foreign brands, only Dove has taken one-third of the market.

Chinese TV star tastes chocolate
Chinese TV star tastes chocolate

And these four brands have held the high-class market. Then following brands such as UHA, Meiji and Lindt & Sprüngli take medium-to-high class chocolate market and the rest of the market is taken by local companies.
Good news for imported chocolate is that the new generation of consumers has much deeper understanding of chocolate including its taste, making process and culture. This trend will probably increase the daily consumption of chocolate which means the market will expand greatly.

Selling Points of Imported Chocolate

Why more and more Chinese become fans of chocolate, a foreign imported food product?
What are the factors to getting Chinese people buying chocolate? A report shows that the No.1 factor Chinese consumers consider is the taste; following by brand (18%) and price (7%).

1. Taste

From the slogans of big foreign brands, we can see that taste is the key factor those big companies consider:

  • Dove: 牛奶香浓,丝般感受(Sweet-smelling milk as silk tasting)
  • Ferrero: 溶在口味,回味无穷(melt in the mouth, a lasting flavor)
  • Cadbury:顺滑(smooth)
AD of Dove

It’s true that in China, taste is the most important factor, but compared to western consumers, Chinese consumers don’t care about the taste nearly as much. A report shows 66% western consumers put taste as the most important factor while only 30% of consumers think it’s the most important factor.
With the deeper understanding of chocolate, Chinese consumers will consider more and more about the variety and the taste.

2. Brand Building

When chocolate came to China’s market, it was branded as an exotic food product which is an added extra value.
And now the brand has become even more important.

Chocolate in China

First of all, a big part of imported chocolates purchased in China is for gifts or ceremonial use like wedding candy.
For young Chinese men, chocolates, especially luxurious delicately packed chocolates have become a must to show their love to their girlfriends. During the Chinese Valentines’ Day this year, half of the top 10 items sold online were chocolates.
That’s why imported chocolates are sold as high-class food product.


Apart from its decent look, imported chocolates also enjoy a fame of high-class ingredients. With the growing concern for health and food safety, consumers are becoming more careful about the ingredients of chocolates and imported chocolate are trusted for containing more cocoa or milk.

3. Distribution

When chocolate first appeared in China, the price for a box of imported chocolates was sky-high. Today, chocolate has become a common food product that most people can afford. But some chocolate brands are still famous for their high price such as Ferrero because Ferrero targets on the high-class chocolate market where price is an important tool to show its value.
A Chinese consumer can easily find reasons to buy a box of imported chocolate for its taste, brand and price. And what chocolate makers need to do is to produce nice chocolate, promote its brand and label with a suitable price.

To develop your Distribution we have ways to connect with Chinese Distributors, resellers.

4. E-Commerce 

If you want to sell your Chocolate in China, it is possible online. Lot of plateforms offer this solution

TMall , JD , kaola, Yihaodian, WeChat Store. We are an e-Commerce agency specialized about China.

Ferrero WeChat ECommerce Store.

 

Branding is the Key

If you already have the products, why not sell them in China? But before that, you will need to know how Chinese think about the taste of your chocolate and build your brand first. To reach these two targets an integrated strategy of both online and offline marketing will be good.
As shown in a survey by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), 85% of the interviewees choose the Internet as their choice for information, following with TV 66.1%, then newspaper 61.1%.
For newcomers in the Chinese chocolate market, online marketing and branding is a suitable strategy. It has the following four advantages:

  1. cost efficiency
  2. precise marketing
  3. easy reputation control
  4. feedback from the market.

There are mainly two ways to promote your chocolate in China online: Special designed website and SNS promotion

1. A website in Chinese

Website of Godiva in Chinese

With a website in Chinese, you can

  1. increase the popularity of your brand
  2. influence consumers by content and design
  3. create a company image

After creating a website for your chocolates, the promotion of it is also important. A good website without people visiting is a waste. To promote a website by SEO and SEM is the most popular solution now.

2. Social Media

Social Networking Service or Social Networking Sites (SNS) has become an important source for people to get pieces of information. Chinese people spend 25h per Week average on Social Media .

WeChat is the number one social media website in China in 2018, and has a total integrated ecosystem.

Now half of the Chinese internet users have registered in Weibo (microblog). As “Corporate Weibo White Paper“ by Sina and CIC introduces, there are about 5000 food products manufacturers opening accounts on Sina Weibo. Some of them have opened very professional Weibo accounts.

Weibo account of Toblerone

Other SNS sites like Douban where high educated Chinese are .
The benefit of promoting your chocolates on SNS is that you can

  1. get feedback about the taste, brand and price quickly from them;
  2. build a community surround your company;
  3. reach your target people precisely;
  4. creating a more friendly company image;

and people accept information from SNS faster.

3. Community management : what happend outside your Social Media Channels

Besides its taste, the concept of chocolate culture has also been accepted by Chinese. Chocolate Salon has already been held three times in Shanghai and gained a lot of chocolate fans and build a high-class image for this food product.

WeChat Groups are place where friends exchange last news and buzz.

Forums are also popular if you want to target special Yummie community.

Dianping is also quite famous for Food lovers.

On Little Red book, Micro influencers are speaking about Chocolate

Shanghai chocolate salon

Crazy for Chocolate in China

China’s market has shown a strong demand for imported chocolate. As an exotic food product, chocolate and its culture have already been accepted by most Chinese. And now most Chinese buy it for its brand and its taste. If a chocolate maker already has good chocolates, what he needs will be a suitable marketing plan such as cost-efficient online marketing to penetrate into this market.

 

We are a Marketing Agency in China

We can help you to Market and Sell your Chocolate in China. We have developed a large range of Services that can help you to enter the Chinese Market.

  1. See our agency Website 
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  3. Contact us to get a Quote and conversion with one of our Experts

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52 Comments

    1. Hi, Elnaz. I have noticed that Sino-Iran trade has increased greatly since 2010. Let me know what business are you interested and I hope I can offer more details.

      1. Thank you for such a fantastic blog. Where else could one get this kind of info wiettrn in such an incite full way? I have a presentation that I am just now working on, and I have been looking for such information.

    2. Dear sir

      Please send us the price quotation with minimum order quantity how can i get in touch with you?

      Faisal
      Pakistan

      1. Dear Sir / Madam,

        We are a Business Service Provider in Iran and ‎ giving the service to manufacturers to develop their export market.
        One of our customers, is CHOCO PARS Co., which is in the market since 50 years ago, and now we are presenting them to international market.
        They are producing/distruting several kind of products such as followings:
        Chocolate
        Jelly Powder
        Cake Powder
        Syrups ( Juice)
        Sweets

        We want to enter the Chinese Market
        We can also supply Private Label products.
        Please feel free to contact us if you need any further information.

        Best Regards
        Hamid Amiri
        Business Development Department Manager

    3. Hello Philip,am running a chocoate company and i would like to enter Chinese market. my major products are dark chocolate renging from 65% to 100% i don’t use flavours and i also make chocolate for lovers .my chocolate is organic. How can i enter the china market. Help me

  1. Chinese women like chocolate and besides this, it’s becoming trendy to receive chocolate gifts on special occasions. It’s a western trend and everything that’s popular in the West is being adopted by chinese people quite fast.
    The only problem is the chinese culture that emphasizes slimness in women…not sure chinese women will ever eat sweets very often.

    1. Hi, Maria. what you said is totally right. and now girls are not so crazy for slimnness and they can always find more reasons to eat chocolate than refuse it.

      1. Hello Philip
        I am a Dutch trained chocolatier who has been making and selling chocolates for 25 years. I am pleased to tell you that it is possible to “lose weight” while eating chocolate. Good quality Dark chocolate – made with cocoa-butter and soy lecithin as the emulsifier & over 52% cocoa content (the higher the cocoa content the better) – will increase your body metabolism by 24% if it is eaten 15 – 30 minutes before a main meal. The amount you can eat is VERY important….40gr is enough per day ( if you exercise a lot you can increase this amount to up to 100gr but ONLY if you are a very active person – otherwise it wont work).
        40gr of Dark chocolate will also increase the serotonin levels in your body which will make you feel happier.
        I am writing a book – soon to be released – of my own recipes which I plan to use as a teaching tool. I am learning the Chinese language for the last 14months and plan to have the book translated into Chinese so that the quest for the right information can be sourced by Chinese who wish to become real chocolatiers and not just ‘buyers’ of chocolate.
        I enjoyed your Blog. Thank you
        Melanie

      2. Dear sir,madam
        I m want to enter china market for choclte ,candy and bubble i have business in pakistan since 2000
        Dear im intrested to export chclate etc from china

    2. Yes, I agree with you that the big problem lies in the cultural mentality of Chinese women.
      To be thin is praised everywhere, from the web to TV and in the families as well.
      The question is : is a Chocolate brand able to combine the two or there is any case of chocolate brands promoting chocolate as “healthy” ?

      1. It’s a very good idea to brand a chocolate as a healthy food because it offers consumers, especailly who care a lot about their body shape, a reason to eat chocolate. What’s more, there’s nobody doing it as big companies have already positioned their brand and small companies are still seeking for their positioning.

        1. Good discussion and view on China. I was wondering where are the Swiss? Known for the Chocolate but not very active in China, I see the Belgians more and more but not the Swiss.

          1. Compared with Swiss chocolate industry, belgium seems to be more suitable for export and also adaptation to Chinese market. Especailly for the taste where you can find huge gap between western taste and Chinese taste.

        2. Hi

          Can you guide me more on how to establish a chocolate store in China?
          I have a high end swiss Belgium chocolate with gift wrap chocolate items.
          Thank you

          1. Hello Tarek,
            We can help you to do that, just contact us and our expert will guide you.

    3. I’m Mr ronald i want to invest in any business in good faith I have equity capital for profitable investment. Get back to me via email with your business proposal or your project plans for review.
      Thanks.
      Mr ronald williams.

  2. What is the most popular Chinese target market for consuming chocolate? In other words which age group in China buys the most chocolate?

  3. please i need a chocolate seller or producer to bring in chocolate to my country Nigeria and sell, i sell vigor chocolate here in my country and the price as gone high and people still want to buy. it boast the libido of men for sexual erection and here in Nigeria is large market for it and i am ready to develop supplier for china chocolate market here in Nigeria
    in case any one is interested email me on erumehtonyaudu yashoo.com or call me on +2348069101090 i will help to register your product here in my country Nigeria under food product NAFDAC national food and drug administration commission then will franchise the business and you can sell like 10 container of chocolate in a month

    1. hi my name is emerson from Angola we are produse very nice chocolate in our factory in Angola maybe we can help you email me sp we talk
      thanks

  4. First of all, invite your basic family, then your godparents and grandparents.
    The initial Adirondack chair was built by Thomas Lee in 1903.
    You have been thinking about every detail, how the itinerary would flow.

  5. Hello – interesting postings. Looking for a list of Chinese manufacturers in Chocolate or Chinese purchasers of semi cocoa finished products. Thanks

  6. We are an Ecuadorian chocolate company called AOG Foods,
    Our organic range is what we would like to begin selling in China. our products currently sell in Ecuador, Canada, and the USA
    We have Inventory ready to be sent out

  7. Hello,
    We are a new Retail Store in China, and would like to buy Chocolate Brands from Europe or Russia. We want famous Brand, already in western Supermarket and with good potential in China.
    We are a Chinese Company contact us for negociation and introduce your brands to us

    1. Hello Johny

      Are you still looking for popular chocolate brand to sell in your store? Where in China are you located?

  8. TRACKERS BD Solution is the company in Bangladesh to track your vehicle in real time, its software is very suitable and comfortable.

  9. Hello,
    Very few brand of chocolate in China are popular, and I guess lotof space for Small Chocolate Brand? I am Right?

  10. Hello,
    We are reselling foreign imported brand of chocolates on Wechat, and we have thousands of Wechat group, and we want to resell your brands.
    Can you contact me

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