The Chinese water market is the largest in the world in 2020, because Tap water is not drinkable, because of the huge population, and because the Chinese have more money and care more about their health.

Chinese Market is growing

As you may know, China knows amazing growth regarding its economy. However, this rapid development is at the cost of the environment.

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The country suffers from pollution, contaminated land, uninhabitable areas, desertification, and several water issues. Therefore, the country has only 6.5 of the planet’s renewable water resources to satisfy the needs of one-fifth of the world’s population. Nowadays in China’s water shortage has become a very serious problem.

Water in China

Water in China is a large market. The total revenue of the bottled Water segment is USD 58 Million in 2020. The water market is expected to grow YtY by 5% ( 2020-2023). The average per capita consumption in China reaches 75.2 L in 2020.

The available amount of water in China reaches only a quarter of the global average. The link between water resources and agriculture starts to become more and more important.

Water issues in China

As you may know, China knows amazing growth regarding its economy. However, this rapid development is at the cost of the environment.

The country suffers from pollution, contaminated land, uninhabitable areas, desertification, and several water issues. Therefore, the country has only 6.5 of the planet’s renewable water resources to satisfy the needs of one-fifth of the world’s population.

Nowadays (2020) in China’s water shortage has become a very serious problem. The available amount of water in China reaches only a quarter of the global average. The link between water resources and agriculture starts to become more and more important.

Sanitary Concerns Push Chinese Consumers to Buy a bottle of Water

history: China Water Crisis 2017

China  is plagued by a Critical water security crisis

This already has global implications as the crisis worsens, national and global political and economic instability will grow.

North: China’s agricultural core is in the North, but its water resources are in the South.  source

Can China fix its mammoth water crisis before it’s too late? source CNN

The Chinese Water Crisis Grows

China has 20% of the world’s population but only 7% of its fresh water and a rapidly growing middle class with water-demanding lifestyles. In 2014, eleven out of thirty-one Chinese provinces did not meet the World Bank’s water needs criteria of 1500m3 per person. In 2015 in Beijing, water provisions amounted to only 100m3.  Agriculture and industry account for 85% of water usage.

The problem of Tap Water in China

Chinese consumers in general tend to pay attention to what they eat but also what they drink. Actually, sanitary scandals are very common. For instance, in 2013 7.500 rotten pig carcasses have been found in the Huangpu River. People were very shocked and afraid because the river provided 80 % of tap water in Shanghai.

Pay for safety

After this unfortunate event, authorities promised the safety of water in Shanghai. Despite this measure, people became very skeptical and stopped drinking tap water. As a consequence, people buy more water in the bottle. The evolution of consumption can be explained by this scandal.

Actually, there are 5 grades to classify groundwater to check the drinkability which means the quality that the human body can support. In reality, only the first three are acceptable.

Drinking-Water in China

According to sources found by the New- York times, experts found 32, 9 percent of the fourth grade of water in northern and central China. However, this is not the worst news since 47.3 of grade 5 has been found too. In some areas, one could also find heavy metals.

Even though the water that Chinese people drink comes from groundwater, surface water can also have consequences. From 2010 to 2015 the number of sold bottles went from 19 billion to 37 billion litters according to the economist. The emergence of this market also pushed companies in the beverage industry to get more involved.

An influence of western lifestyles

Chinese tend to have a western lifestyle. It stems from this trend of rapid urbanization and an increase in health awareness.  The improvement of their living conditions can be highlighted by the rise in salaries. So, they need to show off their new status. Chinese consumers tend to have a different mindset and a new way of thinking regarding their health.

There is a noticeable changing behavior go with new habits, embracing health and wellness as a whole. For example, they avoid eating chewing gum. As a result, they prefer to pay a higher price and therefore they favor premium water brands and so on foreign brands.

International Brand Trying to Take Benefit From This Market

Big brands seized the importance of water safety in China. They understood that in order to win Chinese consumer’s trust they need to appear such as a reliable brand. This is the reason why Nestlé and Coca-Cola associated worked on their branding and they intend to make people associate their brand with the notion of social responsibility. They try to make their marketing strategy fit the Chinese consumers’ expectations.

Thanks to these efforts the consumers perceive water in a bottle as a safer alternative. The case of Coca-cola can serve as a good example. In 2014 they launched socially responsible bottled of water. The money collected by the sales of this water allows the financial support of a humanitarian project. Indeed, they fund the cleaning of water in schools for children in a rural areas.

 The Water Market: a Huge Potential

 Actually, sales in volume decreased between 2015 and 2017. They moved from 5% to 4.2 %. One should also point out the fierce competition in the market. The market is very concentrated because of the presence of numerous actors. National brands need to make a more significant effort to face the competition of international brands that have a big budget for marketing and promotion.

Indeed, brands like Coca-Cola and Nestlé reinforce their presence in the market considering the potential customers in the Chinese market. As a matter of fact, high-end bottles are more successful because consumers are sensitive to the aspect of the bottle. However, domestic brands still dominant in the market as long they share 70 percent of the market share. Imported brand water is especially consumed by young people.

Read also: The guide to market a brand of the bottled market in China

Moreover, young people consume a lot of mineral water.

You can also read our Strategic Guide to Export Food Brands in China

How to Enter the Water Market?

Create and develop a Brand: Chinese Trust in Brand

Even if water appears as a simple good and essential one of daily life, don’t forget that Chinese people care a lot about the aspect of the products they purchase.

in China, Branding is everything

It is always a question about reinforcing their social status. That is the reason you should choose a good design that is in accordance with your brand and the identity you chose to adopt.

Example of Watson Water Brand Story

E-Reputation

eReputation is vital for Brands in China, every Marketer needs to care about their Reputation.

Settle a Good Promotion of Your Water on Social Media

In China, Wechat is an unavoidable platform that allows you to be visible, discuss with your followers but also promote your products. Indeed, you can choose the kind of account you want to create.

Therefore, you have the possibility to add some Social Promotion.

Advertising Your Products With KOLs

In 2020, KOL(influencers) is the most efficient way to market a brand in China.

If you have a shop on an e-commerce platform or if you have your own e-commerce website, the goal is to attract people to your website.

Therefore, you can pay KOL to advertise your products on Douyin for example or you can just give them the water, and then they will advertise it by promoting your brand. Thanks to their followers they can bring you, new clients.

Enlarge Your Distribution

Online – Think E-Commerce in China

If you want to sell your water in China, think E-Commerce.
You already heard about

  • TMALL
  • JD
  • YihaoDian
  • WeChat Store & mini Program

Tmall for Evian can sell 120 000 Box of Bottles per month on Tmall

Partner with distributors in China

We have a new way to Connect your Brand to 80 000 Distributors, a New B2D (Business to Distributors ). It can only

Distribution in China

Do you need a Partner to promote your Water in China?

If you want to enter the water market in China, we have the expertise to help you.

  • We know what to do, and mistakes to avoid
  • We can drive you to the Right Sale Channels
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  • We have case studies that should interest you.

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Next Step

Please go to the contact section for more information, send us the maximum of information about your project.

We really like to have an idea of your Sell Prevision and Budget allocation if you have.

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48 Comments

  1. hello ive just read your comments about water very interesting my expereance with this life s resource reminded me when i was in my early tweentys 1985 i was so keen to start my very on bottled water busness from my familys water spring i could go on about my dream in this area that it would do no justice to my goal of running my busness in short i was to ahead of my time today i would love to kickstart it again after 30 so yrs the water spriong still flows

    1. Hi!
      We produce water in Latvia, North Europe, drinking and mineral. Please help us to sale water in China. We can ship 20′ containers FOB TJANJIN. Price is 0.12 usd/liter.

  2. I am a Manufacturer for packaged drinking water reverse osmosis process from Malaysia. We would like to expand our brand into China Market and would like to seek your assistance to connect us with your market.

    Regards
    Vinesh

  3. In Chinese philosophy, water (Chinese: 水; pinyin: shuǐ), is the low point of the matter, or the matter’s dying or hiding stage. Water is the fifth stage of Wu Xing. Water is the most yin in character of the five elements

  4. Good day, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you a unique and wonderful property available for sale in Evian, (town of the world famous mineral water EVIAN) in the Alp region of France. This property has been in my mother’s family for many generations and she has now decided to sell. The house was originally a farm house but was renovated by my late father in 1994 with highest quality materials and workman ship.

  5. Hello,
    We are a Chinese company, and we are interested to distribute exclusively a western Brand to China.
    We prefer Europe, America, canada, and australian Brands.
    Contact us with your information

    1. Hi, We have a Battling company with all equipments here in Upstate New York ready to operate and battle all sides of drinking water.
      The facility is for sale for a very good price.
      I can be reached at +1845-837-1919

    2. We are Nasson Karwyderskraal Pty Ltd of South Sfrica and have a borehole yielding high quality mineral water with geohydrological report available.We require marketing agreement to secure state funding.

    3. I am from india and we are manufacturer of packaged deinking water.we will be happy to work with you.

      1. Indian have poor reputation iin China specially for water, so we are not interested sorry
        We want to resell western Quality Brands

    4. Hello,
      Our Company produces drinking water from an owned artesian wells in Sakhalin region (Russia). The volume of water production per day is 4500 thousand cubic meters.

      Currently, we are open to new opportunities and are looking for
      partners from China to export our water to the Chinese market. We have
      the necessary facilities to create production lines for bottling water
      directly at the plant, and we are also ready to export water in bulk
      in water-bearing tankers. We can ship through the seaport in Korsakov,
      Sakhalin region (Russia), which is located at a distance of 40
      kilometers from the plant. The plant also has an owned railway dead
      end, so water can be delivered both by road and by rail directly to
      the seaport. The location of the Sakhalin region makes it possible to
      deliver water by sea not only to China, but also to any country in the
      Asia-Pacific region, including Japan and Korea.

      We hope that you will be interested in working with us. We consider various forms of cooperation, including joint ventures, venture investments, or market mediation.

      With respect and hope for mutually beneficial cooperation,

      Sakhalin Water Limited

      1. Hi,
        I’m looking at creating a water plant in new Zealand.
        Either bulk in 20ft containers or bottled.
        To be viable I need a reasonable assurance of sales.
        I believe I could do 1,000,000 litres a week.

    5. We are a producer of wholesale drinking water(purified, Mineralized, Alkaline products), supplied in bulk 24,000ltre containers for bottling and distribution at the customers destination. current surplus capacity +200 Megalitres per annum.

    6. Hello Sam Wu,

      We have a water company on Colombia, our product is extremely pure water and it comes directly from the Andes.

      We are interested in exporting our product to China, and we are looking for a company in China to distribute our excelent water.

      I hope you are interested.

    7. I represent a City in Northern Wisconsin United States, we have unlimited 10,000 year old filtered artesian water. We are a port city and can handle large ships. We would like to find a partner in China to ship, bottle and distribute. Please contact me. 414-231-1448

    8. Hi,
      We are water supplier from Slovenia (Europe). If you interested for import od larger quantities please contact me.
      Thank you and kind regards
      Ben

  6. Hi we hve a water bore 180mtres deep of prestine aquifer water it has been tested and is ready for bottling and distribution we are looking for an investment partner

  7. My company is a manufacturer of natural mineral water from Russia. Our production is located in Vladivostok, close to China board.
    We are looking for a partner in China with whom we could enter the market.

    Our production capabilties are 3 containers 40′ per week.
    The water is produced in ecologically clean region. Very tasty – we have 25% of market share in the market.

    contact me 007 910 495 3656 Whatsapp

      1. 1 brand – Livonia
        2 brand – Baikal

        Oh, I see my message and need to correct as it might be misunderstood – we Have 25% of market in our local region of Vladivostok:)

  8. Hi from Croatia (EU)
    We would like to find an investment partner in:
    Constructed well H-8, 152 meters deep, with all the necessary documentation required for obtaining water exploitation concessions, recommended on 8 l/sec. The well is fully built and completed following all regulations and laws of the Republic of Croatia and EU standards, from stainless steel 316L, on the recommendation of the Institut Fresenius, in accordance with EU standards for natural spring water; yearly capacity up to 500 mil L.

  9. Hello !!! Has you know, the cleanest water on the planet contains 4 types of bacteria. I can provide the powerful one with no bacterias,,the most and powerful water of the world !!! In this moment I can provide for at least 50 years. All I need is an strategic partener to start the production and export. Some invest. may be needed. you can make any tests in all over the world laboratory.
    Regards

  10. AQUA RUSSA is an Russian brand of bottled mineral water. AQUA RUSSA source located in the neighbor of wildlife national park Valday where the natural mineral water was discovered.
    Introduced to the Russian market in 2014, AQUA RUSSA is a high quality, Russian bottled and sourced water. It contains Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium, all naturally occurring within the source.
    AQUA RUSSA is natural alkaline water with PH + 8.0 . Alkaline water has become a popular drinking water choice over the past few years. Some people say that drinking slightly alkaline water — with a pH between 8 and 9 — can improve your health. They say it may make you age more slowly, maintain a healthy pH in your body, and block chronic disease like cancer.
    AQUA RUSSA is bottled at the source so that it has a fresh taste.
    It is pure and has a freshness that isn’t seen with some other bottled waters.
    Because the spring is under pressure constantly, the water is harvested before it ever comes into contact with the environment which is key in preserving its unique blend of minerals.
    Water that is used is of a high quality.
    A local brand, it has experienced significant growth in last years and continues to drive the bottled water category.
    AQUA RUSSA mineral water is a leader in the Russian luxury market and is most often found in the best wine bars, restaurants, hotels and office boardrooms all over the Russian Federation and CIS.
    We are constantly innovating to meet consumers’ needs and AQUA RUSSA is now available in still, sparkling, both glass and plastic bottle, with a wide range of capacity (0.2 L. – 2.5L )
    We produce water in plastic and glass bottles.

    For distributors we have very special commercial terms.
    Please , don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions

  11. Hi Marketing to China. Great article – very informative. We are from New Zealand looking to export wholesale water to the Chinese market. Please contact me via email to discuss further. Thanks again.

  12. Good Day.

    I am doing some market research for Boutique Water Products and the demand for high quality boutique water. We have a high mountain spring +- 300m above sea-level, fed from Quartzite Aquifers. Temperature at source about 5 deg C. High mineral and energy content. Rate of supply is very limited, to about 1 million litres per month. We are hoping to find a client to purchase in bulk from us, and we be willing ship 2 million litres (+- 200 TEU) every 2 month’s for bottling on the Other end. High grade ‘crystal’ mountain filtered water, that should only be sold in very high end packaging ( glass or other… no plastic). We would be willing to work with and supply a bottling partner, to create a New Brand, as our water comes from a location that has Ancient Legends going back thousands of years, and could be placed in the premium market segment. Through the use of our Story, our Location and the absolute Vibrancy of our water, we believe that together with an industry Maverick, we could create one of the most premium brands.

    Shipped from the Cape of Good Hope, which is the fairest Cape of them all, we can already guarantee the beauty of our Source, a Secret Spot, surrounded by Majestic Crystal Mountains, The Cape Floral Kingdom, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and all the splendor of pure mountain water.

    This water will be sealed in bulk, at source in 25000 L in refrigerated containers, at 5 deg C which remains until bottling, maintaining the cold chain from source to you.

    A Price we maybe happy with, is USD $0.35c per litre FOB (cold chain at source), negotiable, for premium Quartzite Water, with a share in the sale of the product at market.

    Health and Energy Benefits of our Water is very high.

    Please no time wasters. I would like to speak to someone who can see the benefit of an Ancient legend and the thousands of years that have gone into to potentially making a new brand,and who would be interested in partnering with us to exploit our water in the most efficient and beneficial manner possible.

  13. Hi,
    We are based in Lesotho, a small kingdom land locked by South Africa, with no industrialization in our mountains, our springs yield pure natural water that only require reverse osmosis just to rid of the silt. This is can be affirmed by the fact that South Africa is sourcing water from Lesotho for its domestic use.Against this backdrop, we own a bottling company and we would like expand distribution base. Please advise.

    Thanks

  14. Mineral water commonly contains substances like magnesium, calcium, sodium, and zinc, and, according to recent research, they’re actually a pretty effective way to boost your mineral intake. A recent study found that Mineral Water has some legitimate health benefits

  15. КомментарийHello!

    I am engaged in the supply of drinking water for export by tankers 50 000t (Panamax) from FOB port Bronka (St. Petersburg) to the port ASWP (safe port of the world) your interest 1 $/ton will be taken into account in the contract and paid under the contract NCND (international agency agreement) with assistance in concluding a contract one-time (spot) or annual. We fit the price for the client, but within reasonable limits!!!
    FOB port Bronka SPB 8-10$/mt
    I hope for fruitful cooperation.
    With Respect to JSC National Water Company
    d. Saint Petersburg
    Bulgakov Alexander

  16. Greetings,

    I am setting up a water bottling company in Greece and I am interested in exporting to China.
    I have been advised that there are price guidelines for agricultural exports. Do you by any chance know about the price guidelines?

    Thanks for your help.
    Stacey

  17. Hello all,

    I have a borehole drilled at 104m in beautiful Scottish moorland producing high quality water suitable for drinking by any water drinking standards around the globe. The water is filtered through over 75m of sands and gravels, making it as pure as you are likely to find. Scottish groundwater generally is famous around the world for being of the very highest quality and we believe our product is up there with the best. We are looking to enter into the Chinese market and would be interested in hearing from potential distributors and investors to further grow our brand and hopefully make an impact in the Chinese market. We also believe suitable drinking water should be available for all on Earth, and are looking for water/climate justice charities to team up with.

  18. hello all

    we are an Australian natural spring water company based in queensland and supply a natural filtered pure water water.

    we are actively looking to export this product to any any country

    please advise if you are interested and we can supply more details etc

    regards

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