Foreign interest grows in aging society

Updated: 2013-03-30 01:56

By LIU JIE (China Daily)

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Entering back in 1993, Caltrate is now the country's biggest multivitamin supplement brand by sales, excluding direct-selling supplements.

Keith Choy, the regional general manager of Pfizer Consumer Health China and Hong Kong, told China Daily that considerable resources will be put into advertising, branding, product innovation and quality control to expand its sales in the consumer healthcare sector.

UK-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc, meanwhile, is tackling the China market with what it calls an "umbrella brand" strategy, referring to a group of products being sold and marketed under the same brand name, which it claims saves costs and increases efficiency.

GSK is using its first anti-cold brand "Contac NT" to cover a series of consumer healthcare products, such as anti-congestant nose paste and throat-soothing herb drops.

Another global industry heavyweight, US-based Abbott Laboratories, officially split its nutrition and pharmaceutical sectors at the start of the year, to make each business more focused and independent.

In China, its nutritional business is dominated by milk powder, with more products such as food alternative powder and nutritious supplements, expected to be introduced soon.

Abbott is building a new $230 million dairy powder manufacturing facility in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, and is introducing its top-selling consumer healthcare products from developed markets to China, especially those targeted at helping people cope with the aging process.

The China Health Care Association claims that China has overtaken Japan as the world's second-largest consumer of health supplements, such as vitamins, minerals and other natural products, only after the United States.

"International pharmaceutical companies have rich experience of healthcare supplement R&D and production, as many have been in the business for many years and own many major branded products," said Bruce Liu, highlighting Johnson & Johnson and GSK as the biggest players.

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