Bottom’s Up! to Tsingtao
As stated above, I am not an expert on China, but I am comfortable saying I am an expert in beer! I may NOT be able to taste and sniff out spruce and citrus hints, but if an expert can be measured by total volume consumed, I’ve got it in the bag.
Tsingtao is China’s number one beer maker.
If you are American and have tried a Chinese beer at a restaurant, then it was most likely Tsingtao. Tsingtao is sold in 62 countries around the world and accounts for more than 50% of China’s beer exports.
But, Tsingtao did not achieve success through reaching foreign markets, they did it at home. Tsingtao Brewery Co.’s core target market has always been sales in China, the world’s largest beer market by volume, and its ad campaigns at home are normally aimed at domestic consumers, not foreigners.
But one may THINK that has changed with a new strategy at targeting the influx of visitors to Shanghai’s 2010 World Expo or finding partnerships with U.S.-based sports teams. As China’s National Beer, it would be hard to ignore the expected 70-100 million visitors to the World Expo in Shanghai, but KEEPING those visitors loyal customers is not Tsingtao’s end game. By selling a modest amount in western markets, Tsingtao hopes to impress its ultimate target: the Chinese consumer.
Also, do not categorize NBA as a U.S.-only passion. NBA popularity in China is staggering:
- NBA games are available on 51 broadcasts in China
- 2008 season generated a combined audience of over 1.4 billion viewers
- NBA.com/China, the league’s website for China, gets 25 million unique visitors a month
The Chinese beer market is very much dominated by local beers. China boasts more than 500 breweries, each headquartered in a different city. About 499 concentrate on local consumers. Tsingtao, though, concentrates on everyone.
Tsingtao is the only national brand.
We like local beer even if local beer is not good. Local taste.
-Sun Ming Bo, executive vice president at Tsingtao.
I’ll buy that. I always drink my local beer when I am home and if given the chance to drink it outside of Rhode Island, I would.
But by operating 50 breweries across China’s vast country, Tsingtao has become No. 2 in thousands of Chinese cities – and thus No. 1 in China.
Not only has Tsingtao established itself as the powerhouse beer for China, they are holding there with efforts to reach the younger, up and coming Xiao Zi, or Chinese “yuppies.” Tsingtao has engaged this market through several different digital means.
- Interactive Tour of Tsingtao Brewing Facilities
- Video Downloads of company and consumer submitted videos.
- Cheer Challenge – A co-sponsored event with NBA to host a nation-wide cheerleading competition.
- Slots game where customers can win prizes.
- SMS log-in page where customers can connect with social networking sites like QQ, RenRen, SportsQQ, Sohu, and Sina.
- Bulletin Board System – BBS
- Augmented Reality Game
Tsingtao has done a very good job of understanding their market and has taken a bold, yet sometimes indirect approach towards keeping that audience.
As an expert beer drinker, I say it is time to find a cold Tsingtao and 干杯!