China’s consumption upgrade

Ever since sweeping socio-economic reforms were introduced in China in the 1970s, its economy has been one of the fastest-growing in the world. It is currently the second-largest economy in the world, trailing the USA, but is growing at a faster rate.

China is an appealing market for exporters, thanks in no small part to the “consumption upgrade” trend. Easier access to online retail and tariff cuts for imported products have contributed to a boost in spending by Chinese consumers.

High-quality food products in higher price brackets are being eagerly purchased by Chinese consumers. Data from e-commerce platform Tmall, taken during the build-up to Chinese New Year, found that food and beverage remained the highest earner during the period.

"People now have a much higher income, so people have more money to spend on food-related business,” said Chen Jiahe, chief strategist from Cinda Securities in Shanghai.

Michael Jiang, VP and general manager of Greater China at Kerry, believes that Chinese manufacturers are moving from “made in China to innovative in China” right across the food and beverage industry.

“The fast-growing foodservice market makes consumers’ taste more and more sophisticated,” Jiang said. “For healthy food, fresh and natural ingredients are the priority needs.”

“China’s large population with steady growth in GDP, urbanisation, the rising middle class and the government’s commitment to optimising the business environment for sustainable economic health – all these combined make China a strategic focus,” Jiang said.