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Hangzhou, City Along the Qiantang River

At a ‘mere’ 2,200 years old, Hangzhou is among the younger cities in the vast, ancient land of China. Founded by the Qin dynasty, it has long been a favored location of those exploring China’s treasures. Here, Marco Polo found silk to take back to Europe. He also found delightful temples and breathtaking natural scenery.

Hangzhou is located along the Qiantang River only just over 180km from Shanghai. It is connected to Beijing over 1,667km away by the magnificent man-made Grand Canal. There is also the West Lake which curves gently around many of the city’s best sights.

One of the most popular of those is the Ling Yin temple, once the largest Buddhist temple in China. Built during the Jin dynasty that ended in 400 AD, it once housed over 3,000 monks. There are outstanding rock carvings of the Laughing Buddha and caves nearby, along with a stellar view of the mountains.

China’s capital for 100 years in the early 12th to early 13th centuries, it holds a silk museum with treasures that would have been familiar to Marco Polo. But there are modern facilities, too, including audio tours and a bus that takes you right to it.

Here you can see exactly how the fine silks of China are made, what dyes are used and how the weaves are created. There are often live demonstrations to go along with the many artifacts on display.

The Six Harmonies Pagoda is a must for anyone visiting Hangzhou. Located on Yuelun Hill overlooking the river, this 5th century marvel is the epitome of architecture in the city. Its wood and brick are both ancient and unusual, arranged in an octagon almost 200 feet/60m high.

Surrounding the pagoda are numerous gardens with painted animal figures placed carefully about. In the interior is a challenging spiral staircase, a curious zigzag corridor and several small chambers to explore apart from the spacious main area. The seven-story interior is festooned with paintings of birds, flowers and other local elements. In the upper sections visitors can get a spectacular view of the nearby Qiantang River Bridge.

Hangzhou also has some outstanding restaurants to delight and refresh the busy tourist.

The Haveli at 77 Nanshan Rd offers Indian food in an elegant setting. Diners can enjoy a great tandoori chicken while watching the live belly dancers perform. One of the few restaurants with a non-smoking policy, you’ll be able to really taste the dal fry spicy lentil soup.

Another excellent choice is the Hupanju Teahouse at 23 Hubing Rd. Its casual ambiance and waterside location makes for the perfect lunchtime setting. Sited alongside the northeast edge of West Lake, it offers everything from a buffet to some of the best tea in China.

Whether it is natural beauty, ancient architecture or fine dining you seek, you could do no better than to spend a day in Hangzhou before heading on to Shanghai or Beijing.

Hainan, Hawaii of China

Picture white, sandy beaches, a bright blue sky and a gentle breeze. Coconuts drop at your feet from trees as the sand warms your feet while strolling along. No, you’re not in Hawaii. You’re in Hainan, the smallest province in China.

But, by Chinese standards, small has a slightly different meaning. Hainan covers over 35,000 square km and is home to over 7 million Chinese. At the southern end of the country, its natural beauty has long attracted visitors and fellow countrymen alike.

There are dozens of places to go and things to do in Hainan. Or, you can do nothing at all.

You can lounge on one of the many beautiful beaches in Sanya such as Tianya Haijia or Dadonghai. Take a walk around and enjoy some of the great seafood. You might visit one of the many shops. Shell carvings in many coastal towns around the world are just tourist trinkets. In Sanya, they’re fine art.

Yalong Bay, east of Sanya, is one of the most popular beaches in the area. Covered with students during the height of the season, you can people watch or enjoy one of the longest stretches of beach sand in the world.

North of Sanya, you can visit the highlands. Cooler than some of the other areas during the summer, it provides ample opportunity for hiking. The local scenery is especially lush here.

Take a ferry trip to the capital of Haikou and see the Hairui Tomb, built for a famed officer of the Ming Dynasty. Or visit the popular Wugong Temple not far away.

Be sure to allow time to see Monkey Island. Here there are thousands of Macaque monkeys chattering away as you thread along the area. Only a ten minute ferry ride from Xincun, it’s best seen in March or April, during mating season. You can enjoy yourself by purchasing a bag of peanuts and see whether they’re easy to distract or not.

Xincun itself is a delightful little fishing village where you can enjoy a quiet stroll or interact with the friendly locals. Take some time to wander around and soak in the natural beauty of the land and its inhabitants.

You can visit the Li or Miao Villages, only two among the many that are home to the one million individuals who comprise the ethnic minority in Hainan. You’ll be served some of the finest food available anywhere outside Hong Kong or Shanghai.

Come find out what so many already know: that anyone visiting China should have Hainan on the itinerary.

China — Gulangyu Island

China – Gulangyu Island

Hong Kong is not the only notable island city in China. One – Gulangyu Island – is just a few minutes off the coast of Xiamen, north of its world famous cousin. But it might as well be in another country. Where Hong Kong is all hustle and bustle, Gulangyu Island is as laid back as a tiny village in the Caribbean.

Gulangyu Island provides an array of things for tourists to do, including the option of doing nothing at all. Though the port at Xiamen is busy shipping goods to and from Hong Kong, the island is a beach lover’s paradise. Sunny, friendly and easy going.

No automobiles or motorcycles are allowed, so the transportation is by bicycle or electric scooter. But most people walk, if they go anywhere at all. Enjoying the breeze and the blue sky are a popular option. But for those who have rested and had their fill (temporarily at least) of soaking up the sun, there are a dozen interesting sights to see.

Sunlight Rock is a popular spot. It’s the island’s highest peak at just over 300 feet (92m). Either looking at it or from it, visitors will get a great view. Its granite face provides an impressive facade and the view from the top is breathtaking. At the base is a small museum called Memorial Hall, dedicated to a local hero, Zheng Chenggong, who chased off Dutch colonists and re-captured Taiwan.

Hiking up the path, one can read some of the many inscriptions left by poets over the generations, some of which date back 400 years. Nearby are the long abandoned training grounds for Chenggong’s soldiers. Not far away is a fascinating cave called Gu Bishu Dong (Old Summer Cave).

The island houses a number of fine gardens, as well. The Shuzhuang Garden is one of the best. Built in 1931 by a private owner, it was opened to the public in 1955. Since then, thousands have come to enjoy its Garden of the Hiding Sea and Garden of Making-Up Hills.

Walking along the tall bamboo, the ocean is invisible, making its presence known by the hint of cool breeze. Climbing up the Tower of Tide-Viewing allows for a spectacular view of the ocean generating that wafting sea air. There are numerous paths to saunter along and you can take a rest at one point to get a great view of Sunlight Rock.

But one of the most notable features of Gulangyu Island is something that gives the place its nickname of Piano Island: the Piano Museum. Not long after the turn of the 20th century piano fever struck the Westerners occupying the island. Everyone who was anyone just had to learn. The objects of their passion are now enshrined in the Piano Museum. Miniatures, roll pianos, accordion pianos and many more are on display.

Whether it’s for the delightful museum, the Gothic cathedral or just to sit atop Sunlight Rock and enjoy a great view of Xiamen City across the water, you’ll find many delightful activities on Gulangyu Island.

Beijing, Travelers Dilemma

Beijing is rightly regarded as a major center of world culture. Occupied for over 3,000 years, it has seen dynasties come and go, each of which has left its mark. As a result, visitors may find themselves faced with a common traveler’s dilemma – too much to see with too little time. In Beijing, or Peking as it was known for decades, this is true times ten.

One of the most popular sights isn’t even inside Beijing – the Great Wall. Located about 60-125km outside it, the distance varies depending on which part of the wall you visit.

It stretches over 6,000km and is easily visible from a low-level satellite orbit. Visitors would have to take that kind of trip to see even a small portion of this immense structure. But even what you see on the average walking tour is astounding.

Mutianyu is the site of one of the best preserved sections. The wall was under construction for over 2,000 years, but this 6th-century section was used as a northern barrier against invaders.

To get another superb high view that allows you even to see Beijing you can take a trip to Jingshan Park. Built in 1179 AD, it looks out over the Forbidden City and features spectacular views of the city and its surroundings.

An equally impressive man-made achievement is the Imperial Palace, sometimes called the Forbidden City. The name arose because for centuries only royalty and invited visitors were allowed to freely enter. And sometimes wished they hadn’t.

The Imperial Palace sports over 9,000 rooms spread over 250 acres. First built in the 15th century, it was later renovated during the 18th by rulers of the Qing dynasty.

The Temple of Heaven was built around the same period and covers 270 acres. Today, thanks to the relaxing of religious repression, visitors can see this largest of religious buildings in China. Wandering around, it’s easy to imagine the ancient emperors kneeling on its floors.

China has many religious sites. One very popular is the Lama Temple. The temple, built by Tibetan monks features a 54-foot high Buddha that was carved from a single piece of sandalwood.

The Da Zhong Si (Big Bell) temple is also worth a visit. Built in 1733 AD, it features thousands of intricately carved bells. Among them is reputedly the world’s oldest and largest. It makes the already hugely impressive one in Notre Dame look like a toy.

But there are many sights in the capital city that offer a peaceful atmosphere. At Yiheyuan is a 290-acre park where tourists can stroll over bridges and rest in pavilions beside a large lake. Sip tea at one of the many tea-houses, or saunter along one of the many tree-lined paths.

One site is a must see for every tourist: Tiananmen Square. It’s the largest open square in the world. One million people can comfortably fit within the area, provided they don’t have to share space with tanks.

Many will want to visit the famous Beijing Zoo. Nearly 600 species make their home here. And the pandas are far from the most exotic. Over 6,000 animals drawn from all over the globe are on display.

Be sure to budget enough time. Beijing has many fascinating sights and you’ll find it hard to choose. The more time you have, the easier your decisions.

The Terracotta Army

British Museum in London will display the original excavates of the Terracotta Army from China at its premises in an exhibition between September 2007 and April 2008. The worthwhile exhibition of Chinese master creations will get a feel of foreign lands outside their native mainland China for the first time since its inception more than 2000 years ago.

The Terracotta Army refers to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. These famed figures of historical significance were discovered in 1974 near Xi’an, Shaanxi province by local farmers drilling water well to the East of Mount Lishan. Archeological investigations further revealed the site to be serving as the imperial burial ground to the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty and his army to help the celebrated Emperor rule afterlife. Qin Shi Huangdi is the First Emperor and an acclaimed name in unifying the Chinese Empire for the first time in the history of China. He lived around 220 BC and is also regarded one of country’s most ruthless rulers. The material used to create and construct the terracotta figures was taken up from Lishan. The distinctive collection of 8099 life size and very realistic figures of warriors and horses were excavated underground and are located near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. The site is officially classified and currently inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site and is popularly called the Eighth Wonder of the world.


The construction of this massive monument and world heritage site completed in 38 long years began in 246 BC took up the services of 7 lakh workers and master craftsmen. The first Qin Emperor was interred inside the tomb complex upon his demise in 210BC amidst the embellishments of huge treasure, beautified ceiling adorned with gems and pearls giving a look of the cosmos adorned with heavenly bodies. The flowing mercury represented the life supporting water bodies. The excavation and scientific research studies has revealed the presence of substantial quantity of mercury in the soil of Lishan, pointing towards the authenticity of the description of the site as mentioned in the exemplary works of great historian Sima Qian. The imperial cemetery also termed as necropolis was built with the intension to continue with the Empire and the eternal rule of the Qin Shi Huangdi preceding his death, the terracotta structures in wooden enclosure represented the entire set up in terms of infrastructural luxuries, palace, warriors, army and other services required by the emperor while executing his orders from the heaven afterlife. The compound with imposing gateway entrance is complete with several offices, halls and other structures. The terracotta army signifies the security system to protect the imperial palace and their Emperor. Interestingly even the remains of the craftsmen working in the tomb have also been excavated from the necropolis, presumably to prevent pilferage of any imperial information to outside amongst the masses.

The Terracotta army is a phenomenal archeological discovery and an icon of the China’s past recognizable world wide. It is visited and appreciated by nearly two million people who visit the site annually of which one fifth are the foreigners.

The tomb of the First Emperor lies in the vicinity of an unsealed earthen pyramid 76meters tall and in the circumference of 350 sq meters. The area around the tomb was proposed to be sealed with a special tent to prevent its corrosion from exposure to outside air. This building of this special type of tents is the monopoly of one company in the world and unfortunately even their largest structure is incapable of sheltering the site as per the requirement. The tomb is a testimony to the power and the creative mindset that the Emperor possessed while ordering such a monumental undertaking. His cherished desire to display his unparalleled military achievement and retain the reigns of power even after his departure from the earth is well exhibited in this master work.

Terracotta statues

The terracotta statues are life like and life sized and their physical attributes armed with weapons are tailor made in consonance with the ranks and positions of the said figure. However the weapons were stolen immediately after construction and the color has faded with time. The figures were constructed in the manner of assembly line system in the government workshops as well as by the local craftsmen. Each part was manufactured in mass production and re-assembled and subjected to fire treatment subsequently and then placed in pits of different types of moulds prepared in advance in precise military formation in accordance to ranks and duties.

There have been reports of the pottery warriors being infected by fungal moulds due to raised temperature and humidity as a result of breaths of tourists. The South China Morning Post has reported the figures have been oxidized grey and distorted due to exposure by air. Another journal Daily Planet Goes to China, reported that the pollution and soot from nearby coal burning units is capable of decaying the terracotta material.

The noted Historian Sima Qian has mentioned the evidence of destruction by fire of the wooden enclosure that housed the Terracotta Army. The fire burning the army snuggled for three months. The tomb was raided by General Xiang Yu in less than five years of the death of the Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi with the intension of looting the riches of the tomb and setting the royal cemetery ablaze. Despite this remains of the structures of the Terracotta army in various stages of preservation retain their original grandeur and splendor of their regal past.

A replica of this historical monument is erected in the Forbidden Gardens, a privately funded museum in Katy Texas sponsored by a Chinese businessman to show case to the world the grandeur of his country’s distant past.

Rosy Vohra works forOld books India

Plastic Bags Banned

Could you possibly imagine 3 billion plastic bags? These are the type of bags you get at the store to carry your purchases home in. Hard to wrap your head around the number. Now imagine roughly 90 billion plastic bags. Insane, 90 billion bags, that is a lot of plastic! Now, just to really make your head spin, imagine over a trillion of them. My head hurts. That is an estimated amount of free plastic bags consumed in China in one year. China is estimated to use 3 billion bags a day from its retail operations. To my shock and dismay China has now said it will force consumers to pay for these free bags and that it is banning them from public transportation and other public places. China is actually starting an initiative to help the environment, but is it going to be enforced?

The Chinese government claims that it will. However, other environmental laws are on the books, but rarely enforced. This program may actually be enforced, because the cost of this program is shifted to the consumer and not the businesses. Since China has essentially given businesses a way to charge the customer instead of absorbing the cost this may actually work. Even reducing consumption by a third would be over 300 billion bags a year. That is an impressive dent in consumer pollution. This initiative will encourage consumers to use fabric bags rather than pay for plastic ones (consumers will see it will save them money).

Imagine how fast a landfill is filled up with 3 billion bags a day being dumped. Worse yet, imagine how many of those 3 billion bags are just thrown away as litter in the streets or rivers. There are a lot of benefits to banning these types of bags. Most European countries already charge for plastic bags at stores. That is why you see most European shoppers using fabric bags or other more permanent means of transporting their purchases. This is one way of reducing the amount of trash entering landfills very easily.

Consumers will quickly realize that using fabric bags or another type of container saves them money. It is an initiative that should see dividends pretty rapidly. The big question is, should the United States do the same? Yes. It is pretty simple. We use large amounts of plastic too. Just visit almost any retail store. We buy a lot of stuff and we have to carry it home someway. I think the time is right to initiate the same ban in the United States , or just tax the use of plastic bags. Taxing the bags would give the government another source of revenue. That revenue should be used as a way to fund research into alternative fuels. That would give consumers what they want, cheap plastic bags, and fund a worthy cause. Just a cent a bag would generate millions of dollars a year. Good tax revenue! Consumers, even being charged a penny each, might start using fabric bags. It would be a win-win-win situation.

Geno A Bulzomi

Articles on International Affairs, Leadership and Business.

Best Way to Learn Mandarin in China

Since 2005, there are over 86,000 foreigners coming to China to learn Mandarin Chinese every year. As China’s economy rises in such rapid pace, it means the world has a new second language – Mandarin Chinese, the mother tongue and official language of China, a country with over 5000 years of ancient history. This is why more and more foreigners are coming to China to learn Mandarin.

The Chinese culture can not be described in a paragraph or two. With 5000 years of ancient history, there are traditional differences varying greatly between towns, cities, and provinces. For almost every town, city and province in China, there is a dialect specifically for that area, but every Chinese still knows and understands their official language as Mandarin (Putonghua). As for culture and food, everywhere in China is different as well. For example, the south of China indulges in seafood, and in the north, they indulge in meat.

There are many ways to master Mandarin in China. The most popular method is learning at a university. With proper teaching methods and the high quality teaching, you will be able to learn and understand everyday Mandarin within a semester.

When in China, one may see different people from around the world who are learning Mandarin in China all mixing in together, thereby offering a very colorful and multicultural environment. The advantage of this is that some students don’t speak English well, and so everyone is forced to communicate using Mandarin Chinese. With the university classes having an average class ratio of 1:23 teacher to student ratio, students not only learn Mandarin, but also have to the opportunity to learn about their classmates’ cultures and countries too.

In order to learn a language well, one must take as take into consideration and attention in 5 language areas – speaking, listening, reading comprehension, writing, and grammar. Since the teacher to student ratio in university classes is 1:23, some students find it is more effective to take Mandarin Chinese classes at a smaller private Chinese language academy, where teacher to student ratio is generally about 1:5, or find language exchange partners.

To learn Mandarin quickly, effectively and professionally, students can consider taking classes at a university in China or they can consider studying Mandarin Chinese at a private language academy. PRC Study offers programs and immersion packages to students who wish to
study Mandarin
in a university in China or private Chinese language academy. To find out information on the best way to study Mandarin in China, please visit PRC Study

Taking A Look At The Varieties Of China Stamps

Over 100 years of triumphs, disappointments and culture can be found in stamps from China. From the original “Dragon” collection, to Mao Zedong stamps, to the $2,550 Anna Nizam Charminar stamp, you’ll be dazzled by the stories told in such poignant images. Here you’ll find a description of a few of the valuable and culturally significant China stamps.

Overprints of China stamps were common during the early 1900s. An overprint is the addition of text after a stamp has already been printed (usually to raise the price in relation to inflation). Because of the ever-changing economy, some stamps from that time period — such as the Sun Yat-sen — rose in value up into the thousands of dollars.

In November 1952, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication released a set of four stamps to commemorate “the 35th Anniversary of the October Revolution.” The October Revolution (also known as The Bolshevik Revolution) was led by Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik party and the workers’ Soviets and eventually overthrew the government, making way for the USSR. They were issued in celebration of the friendship between China and the Soviets.

The first stamp had a picture of China’s Mao Zedong with Stalin on the Kremlin tower; the second one portrayed Lenin making a speech at the Second Representatives Conference of the Soviet Unions; the third one pictured a statue of Stalin standing at the Lenin Canal; the fourth showed Lenin making a speech. In 1997, a set of these stamps was sold at the Spring Auction of Jiade for $55,000 RMB.

One of them issued from the collection “To Mark the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of Jinggangshan Revolutionary Base by Chairman Mao” was recently sold at an auction in Shaghai for $1.5 Million RMB (or roughly $199,880 USD). There were originally four stamps issued, including: Chairman Mao and Lin Biao at Tian An Men, Chairman Mao and his party in Jing gang Shan, the quotation “The political power comes from guns,” and another verse by Chairman Mao.

The Jianggangshan base become the birthplace of the Chinese Red Army and is often called “the cradle of the Chinese Revolution.” In addition to the historical significance of these commemorative China stamps, the controversy surrounding the issuance caused an uproar. Production was canceled and specimens were called to be destroyed.

Therefore, the Jinggangshan ones never made it to circulation and only a very small number exist in the hands of private collectors. In September 1968, after the establishment of Cultural Revolution Revolutionary Committees, the Ministry of Posts issued the “All China Is Red” stamp.

It pictured a red ocean, with workers, farmers and soldiers holding “the Quotations of Chairman Mao” and cheering; at the top, a red map of China with golden letters read “All China Is Red.” They were issued in Beijing for half a day before the China Atlas Press discovered that the Xisha and Nansha archipelagos were mistakenly missing from the map!

Due to its extremely limited number, the “All China Is Red” is one of the most famous rare ones in the world. Ten years ago, a post office sheet of 50 was displayed at the China Philatelic Expo in Guangzhou City and was considered a “national treasure,” valued at over 10,000,000 RMB.

While there is said to be about 18 million stamp collectors in China, there are millions of members in the Chinese Philatelic Society. The government is eager to begin trade with other stamp collectors, so the stamps are readily available worldwide.

Ebay has a list of stamps from Asia and China stamps can also be found at the Chinese Philatelic Information site or Whether you’re looking for dragons or emperors, you’ll find it in China!

Mike Selvon has some great stamp collecting articles for the hobbyist, where you can find out more about those popular china stamps. We appreciate your feedback at our stamp collecting values blog.

Chinas Chocolate Market Dominated by Foreign Brands

Foreign chocolate brands such as Dove, Cadbury and Hershey’s have now captured about 70% of the Chinese chocolate market. As Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer with 25% of the global market, recently opened its first chocolate factory in China in Suzhou City, the top 20 chocolate companies in the world have now all entered the Chinese market. But in the face of global competition, China’s local chocolate companies have been further suppressed down the value chain.

Second largest chocolate market

As the CHF 4 billion-revenue-per-year Barry Callebaut set up its first production line in Suzhou, a complete multinational chocolate industry chain is also emerging. Industry insiders suggested that this would be a blow to local Chinese chocolate companies in this globalized competition. It further indicated that keeping up with international competition is particularly important, or the Chinese industry chain will become even more vulnerable.

In recent years, the global chocolate market has notably slowed down, with only 2-3% growth per annum. This is mainly because per capita chocolate consumption in developed countries is already at a high level, averaging 11 kg. On the other hand, China’s per capita chocolate consumption is only 0.1 kg, and its domestic chocolate market has been growing at a staggering 10-15% per year, with an estimated market potential of US$2.7 billion. Thus China has become the world’s second biggest chocolate market only behind the US. The world’s top 20 chocolate companies have all entered China, and there are more than 70 imported or JV chocolate brands in today’s Chinese market.

Barry Callebaut has made it clear that they are coming to share and participate in China’s economic growth. It plans to build the Suzhou factory into the largest among its 38 factories globally, and achieve a 6-fold sales increase in the next five years via the Suzhou factory’s high capacity. “We hope we can fully utilise this factory’s capacity to rapidly increase output from 25,000 tons to 75,000 tons, making it the world’s largest chocolate factory,” said Barry Callebaut CEO Patrick De Maeseneire.

Multinational ambitions

It is understood that Barry Callebaut’s new plant in Suzhou will become the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarter, as well as a sales network centre for serving China and multinational food manufacturers and specialised customers. Major brands, such as Cadbury, Hershey’s and Nestle, all currently have large quantity of outsourcing manufacturing contracts with Barry Callebaut, whose OEM output of cocoa liquor and chocolate products amounts to 15-20% of each of the three major brands’ annual output. So the Swiss Barry Callebaut is indeed the Big Brother of the global chocolate industry.

In fact, even before the arrival of Barry Callebaut, China’s local chocolate companies had already been losing market shares to multinational competitors. The US Hershey’s has determined to plough the Chinese market, planning to achieve 23% share of the local market by 2010 and the runner-up position in China. Meanwhile, Korean and Japanese chocolate producers are also accelerating their entry into the Chinese market.

Local companies not in the local market

Although the rapidly growing Chinese chocolate market is good news for its local chocolate companies, Chinese consumers today are frequently referring to foreign brands such as Dove, Cadbury, Hershey’s and Ferrero but seldom mentioning local brands.

As a foreign product, China only has a chocolate manufacturing history of less than 50 years, so there is inevitable gap behind foreign brands in terms of production techniques and technologies. Due to inappropriate processing equipment and incomplete production facilities, product quality assurance is difficult for many local chocolate companies. Furthermore, most Chinese chocolate companies are weak in product R&D, resulting in slow product changes and updates. At present, most local chocolate companies are stuck in an embarrassing situation of low product quality.

The above industry issues have costed local companies’ opportunities to participate in the competition for the Chinese chocolate market. Multinational chocolate brands have come to the Chinese market one by one since the 1990s, and now they are in a dominant market position. With their considerable financial power, multinationals can play their technological and cultural cards, as well as promoting their premium quality and unique tastes, to rapidly capture the Chinese market.

As Barry Callebaut finally entered the Chinese market, its Suzhou factory will make chocolate production even cheaper for multinational brands. For local Chinese companies that are mostly in the low-end market, they may no longer hold this market segment firm.

Keep up with the globalization

Statistics showed that there are about 63 large-scale local chocolate companies in China, with annual production of 150,000 tons. Statistics from industry associations also revealed that China currently has about 250 chocolate companies in total.

Industry insiders pointed out that the Chinese food and beverage industry is a highly and internationally competitive market. The vast potential of China’s chocolate market is not only for foreign brands, but is also laid in front of local chocolate producers. The local chocolate industry is now in a structural change and survival-of-the-fittest stage, and no doubt the entry of foreign brands will present challenges to the local industry. But if local chocolate companies can participate in this international competition, it could not only drive the chocolate demand from Chinese consumers, but also promote development of China’s chocolate market.

Local Chinese chocolate companies need to constantly improve their product quality, select finer raw ingredients, upgrade production facilities, adopt international technologies, enhance product innovation and brand management. Only then can they compete with multinational companies on a level-playing field, and make a breakthrough in this foreign-dominated Chinese chocolate market.

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