Dual-listed dairy producer a2 Milk has appointed a new Shanghai-based executive to help boost its Chinese market share.
Li Xiao will begin his role as a2’s chief executive of Greater China next month, reporting directly to Asia Pacific chief executive, Peter Nathan.
In February, the company – listed in both Australia and New Zealand – reported a more than 50 per cent jump in half-year net profit in February, despite slowing demand in China.
A burgeoning US and China market, coupled with fresh milk sales growth in Australia helped propel the company to a record net profit in the six months to December 31 to $NZ153 million ($147 million).
In a release to the ASX on Monday, a2 said Mr Xiao had helped grow a number of multinational consumer-driven companies in China including Mars, Nike, Burger King, and more recently the high-growth Kids Entertainment Division at Wanda Group.
“[He] will be responsible for maximising the significant opportunities that the China market presents for the company, with an initial focus on delivering against the company’s existing well-developed strategy and preparing for future growth opportunities across Greater China,” the company said.
At the time of the February half-year results, chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said :“In the last six months we’ve spent considerable time deepening our understanding of consumers in China.
“We know brand awareness in China still has scope for growth and that our consumers – once they’ve tried our products – are typically some of the most loyal and committed in the category.
“As a consequence, marketing investment in second half of FY19 will be approximately double the first half, with the majority of that going to brand building activities in China.”
Shares in a2 Milk slipped by 0.52 per cent to $13.34 on Monday, down from an all-time high of $14.27 earlier in March.