Company announces new Hanoi subsidiary to import baby formula.
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About 1.5 million babies are born in Vietnam every year, making it a promising market for instant formula. © Reuters

Japanese food company Meiji will set up a unit in Vietnam to import and sell infant formula, looking to expand in a market where there are more births than in Japan, the company said Friday.

Wholly owned Meiji Food Vietnam will launch on April 1 in Hanoi with about about 200 million yen ($1.8 million) in capital.

According to Meiji, Vietnam has about 1.5 million births a year, 70% more than in Japan, and the number is projected to keep growing.

The Japanese dairy and confectionery company mainly ships formula from Japan for sale in Vietnam. It intends to continue doing so, with no plans to construct a local factory.

The food segment of parent Meiji Holdings posted sales of 6.4 billion yen in Southeast Asia in the year ended March 2020, up 12% from the previous year.

In Vietnam, Meiji’s nutritionists have provided dietary advice to workers at Japanese-owned factories since 2018. The company also sells fortified milk for adults there. It aims to provide nutrition education to 650,000 people in Vietnam by 2030.

China’s dairy imports have slowed amid rolling Covid lockdowns and a weakening economy that has many analysts slashing their 2022 and 2023 economic growth estimates for the country.

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