“We would only get one grapefruit a year,” my friend Ying would say about the sweet treats he was allowed in China as a child.
Ten years ago my Chinese friends made sour faces and shouted “too sweet!” after tasting American chocolate. But that’s all changing now where it counts—on the Chinese mainland.
Chocolate with Chinese characteristics. That’s what Mars Inc. wants the Chinese market to believe. And believe they do.
As reported by Wall Street Journal: “Five to 10 years ago, we couldn’t have done this because [M&M’s] wasn’t a big brand in China,” said Brian Schiegg, general manager of Mars Retail Group and M&M’s World. Chocolate sales in China grew 58% from 2009-13, reaching more than 15.01 billion yuan, or about $2.43 billion in 2013, according to market-research firm Euromonitor International. Mars accounted for 39.6% of China’s chocolate sales last year, ahead of Italy’s Ferrero SpA, with 11.5%, and Hershey. with 11.1%, according to Euromonitor. Closely held Mars doesn’t disclose financial figures.”