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Brewing up the right recipe for success

By Wang Zhuoqiong and Xie Chuanjiao | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-21 07:33

"It matters if your product can survive in developed markets and be recognized," he said, adding that the brewery is seeking growing markets in Southeast Asian countries. "They are a future market for us. We expect to increase investment and sales in the region," Sun said.

Innovation as a weapon

Sun possesses EMBA degrees from Washington University and Fudan University. The English-speaking chairman believes innovation could change the entire industry.

Innovation could happen within distribution channels, he said, adding that his company is conducting research on the likelihood of adopting e-commerce, which would mean direct contact with retail terminals such as restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores and the development of the logistics of dealing with them.

"Although we haven't gone too far yet, we should not ignore that direction and possibility. We have to think ahead," he said, adding that innovation is focusing on the development of the strength of Tsingtao beer to be a more functional and healthy drink.

A change in beer consumption behavior has led to a change in products that are tailor-made to suit customers.

"In the past, it was about the capacity of drinking the most volume," Sun said. "Now it is about enjoying what you drink."

To compete in the high-end market where foreign breweries have developed greater advantages, Tsingtao has introduced Augerta, using a German formula, and Yipin Draft, which uses hops from the Czech Republic.

Sun said he believes the competition to be best is not only in the psychological arena but also at the physical level. Every day Sun goes jogging for 18 minutes followed by balancing and upper limb routines.

"We are in the beer industry," Sun said. "It is important that our actions and physiques challenge the traditional belief that drinking beer means you grow a beer belly."

Contact the writers at wangzhuoqiong@chinadaily.com.cn and xiechuanjiao@chinadaily.com.cn.

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