“Hong Kong is only our first stop, we want to go places further,” said Luo Hai, deputy general manager of the company’s Bright Dairy & Food subsidiary, during a press conference in Hong Kong. The Shanghai-based company is aligning its overseas strategies “to be in line with the government’s Belt and Road Initiative, to expand to countries” along the way, he said.
Bright, founded in 1911, is mainly engaged in the development, production, and sales of dairy products in China. The company has the dominant share of its home market of Shanghai, as well as other cities in southern China.
Third-quarter net profit rose 24.3 per cent to 529 million yuan, backed by a 6.7 per cent sales growth to 16.5 billion yuan (US$2.49 billion).
The company is counting on its hit product, a premium yogurt produced by villagers of Momchilovtsi in southern Bulgaria, to repeat its sales success beyond mainland China. The product, containing a bacteria that’s beneficial to digestion and health, can be drank with a straw and doesn’t require refrigeration.
“The sales volume of this yogurt product reached 6 billion yuan, out of almost 20 billion yuan worth of total sales volume for our company,” said Ben Ming, Bright’s public relations executive director. “We are aiming for a similar success with the product in Hong Kong.”
Like many of its Chinese corporate peers, Bright Food had been going on a shopping spree for overseas assets in recent years to push its business beyond its home market.
The state-owned firm, where former President Jiang Zemin briefly worked during the 1950s, has bought about 10 businesses abroad since 2011, expanding into food processing, wine, sugar and dairy products.
Shanghai Maling Aquarius Co, a unit of Bright Food, took a 50 per cent stake in Silver Fern Farms, the largest meat processor in New Zealand last year.