Budweiser Brewing Co APAC Ltd, a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed brewer, will continue to invest in premiumization, commercial expansion and digital transformation in China this year to accelerate its business recovery and seed future growth opportunities, said a senior executive.
"Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 pandemic, we have noticed a gradual recovery of domestic consumer market under a series of favorable policies, such as the new dual-circulation development paradigm that takes the domestic circulation as the mainstay while domestic and foreign markets support each other," said Jan Craps, co-chair and CEO of Budweiser Brewing Co APAC Ltd.
With summer approaching, the company opened its first CASA Corona store, gathering elements of beach lifestyle including food, art and culture in Guangzhou – only the second in the world after the first one opened in Madrid, Spain.
While the company delivered its highest summer volumes ever during May through August in last year in China, it remains confident about its summer performance this year especially with its steadily growing premium and super premium portfolio.
As domestic consumer market gradually recovering, the executive said that Budweiser APAC will further explore the China market, expand investment in regional markets such as Guangzhou and areas nearby.
Craps said the company has received strong support given an optimizing business environment in China. All these helped the firm further develop in China despite challenges, its full-year volumes, revenues and market share grew year-on-year in Budweiser's 2020 fiscal year with the exception of losses in February through April, mainly due to COVID-19 impact on offline catering.
"Furthermore, in line with China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), we have committed ourselves in China and also partnered to modernize the beer industry in China to be more premium, digital and greener," he said, adding as a traditional manufacturing company that is catching fast in the digital world, the company faces challenges but also opportunities.
"More than ever, we are investing in data and technology to expand our competitive advantage, by understanding better the values, lifestyles and preferences of consumers today and predict how they may evolve in the future," he added.
There are high expectations for China's economic prospects this year, said Zhang Yongjun, a researcher at the Beijing-based China Center for International Economic Exchanges.
"At a time when the Chinese economy has emerged from the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to understand the opportunities and also the potential challenges facing global companies in China this year," he said.