China's beer battle during World Cup

  File Photo

By An Lu

BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhuanet) -- The World Cup came after four years, and with it the arrival of a fierce competition in China’s beer market.

“I look forward to hot matches during the Brazilian World Cup,” said Zhi Jiahao, a 32-year-old Shanghainese, a former football player and a big fan. “Icy beers, of course, they are the best friend of soccer games,” Zhi added.

The relationship between the beer and football is, as someone think, "no beer, no football.” The World Cup is a vital opportunity for China's beer giants to compete and therefore change the market structure.

According to the beer industry statistics of China Beer Industry Production &Marketing Demand and Investment Forecast Report, in 2013, China’s domestic beer production was 50.62 million tons, of which China Resources Snow occupied 11.72 million tons or a 23.15 percent share of the market; Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd, 8.7 million tons, 17.19 percent; Anheuser-Busch InBev, 6.55 million tons, 14.1 percent.

There are five big beer maker groups in the country, being the main players in the competition for low profit. During the World Cup period, competition for brand influence and market share is likely to be fierce.

As a World Cup sponsor, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest beer company, has not revealed its sponsorship funding yet.

Harbin Brewery, again the official World Cup beer, has launched a series of major marketing activities surrounding the World Cup themes, including advertising, commemorative packaging, caravan, consumer event and online interaction.

Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd has started the "college fan club contest", and put the high price advertising of 83.2 million yuan in the start of the final 10 seconds of CCTV "news network".

It has also launched two new products for the individual needs of the fans: "2014 Football Memorial Set" at 118 yuan and "2014 Football Theme Beer Cans" package mailed at 60 yuan with a monthly turnover of more than 7,600 pieces.

In Tmall and Jingdong Mall, foreign brands are many, but the domestic beer brands like Tsingtao, Yanjing, Snow and Carlsberg would not step back.

Beer consumption soared after falling in recent years. And e-commerce sites are giving sales an added push as they entice customers with large discounts and home delivery.

Customers from Shanghai are the most avid beer buyers online, grabbing more than 20,000 cans of beer a day since the beginning of June, Taobao data showed.

The biggest single purchase comes from a buyer in Guangdong province, who spent more than 15,592 yuan to quench his thirst for the beverage.

To ensure customers get the freshest product, Tmall provides same-day delivery service in 42 cities.

Yihaodian.com, a Chinese online supermarket in which the U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc has a stake, has also joined the fray.

The website also has attracted customers by interacting with buyers via micro blogs and video-sharing sites, and is considering night food deliveries to meet soaring demand during the month-long soccer event.

The World Cup will undoubtedly bring new sales growth and change market structure. The beer industry in China might be reshuffled.

[ Editor: lsm ]