A decade ago, China’s market for disposable diapers was nearly nonexistent. Families used a combination of cloth diapers and “split pants,” baby pants with a large slit in the back that support the traditional method of potty training. Today, the Chinese diaper market is exploding and major diaper brands expect it to continue to grow. In the past months, no less than three, large-scale diaper plants have been announced by foreign firms. On one hand, there is a large amount of new-born babies in China, despite the “One child policy”. Post-1980s Chinese parents are accustomed to purchasing diapers for the children, instead of cloth diapers.
Big companies expand their market in China
Earlier this week, Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX, announced construction had started on its new diaper manufacturing base in the Jiangning (江宁) Development Zone, according to China Sourcing News. The company will reportedly invest more than $100 million in this new manufacturing base and product development center, integrating product manufacturing, quality control, product innovation, engineering project management and logistics management. Meanwhile, K-C’s rival, Procter & Gamble, the maker of Pampers and Luvs diapers, has started stage one of a three-stage investment operation in Luogang, Gaungzhou (广州) that will ultimately become one of the largest manufacturing sites in Asia. The first stage of the plant will reportedly make a number of consumer goods including Pampers. The initiative is part of the company’s goal of investing as much as $1 billion in China by 2015. The plant is expected to add as much as $490 million of production value to the company each year. Also investing in the Chinese diaper market’s future growth is Japan’s Pigeon Corporation. In early March, the company voted to increase investment in its Changzhou-based Chinese operation, which was completed in late 2011. According to company documents, this plant currently produces breast pads, baby wipes and other baby items, and the new investment will add baby diaper production to this operation. When construction is complete, which is forecasted for 2013, the plant production capacity will be about 85 million diapers per year. Pigeon also operates a manufacturing site in Shanghai.
International diaper brands in China: pampers
Pampers is a brand of baby products marketed by Procter & Gamble. Pampers was at one time only used as a name for a disposable diaper. The company markets in various ways including print ads and television commercials. Pampers also produces baby-wipes. In addition to these products, they sell a training pants line called “Easy Ups”. There is also as line of disposable swimwear sold under the brand name Splashers (or Sunnies in Europe). In addition, Pampers produces bed wetting products named Underjams for children weighing up to 85 pounds (about 39 kilograms).
Imported disposable diaper: Kao
Kao began as a domestic toiletry soap manufacturing company in 1887 by Tomiro Nagase. Until 1940, the company was known as Nihon Yuki Company, then it changed its name to Kao Soap Company, and finally in 1985 to Kao Corporation. During the 1980s, its hit products Merries diapers, Attack detergent, Biore daily skincare, Biore U daily body care, Curel (1986) and Sofina cosmetics were launched. During this time, Kao engaged in several joint ventures and acquisitions in North America and Europe. During this period, Kao also expanded the manufacture of floppy disks.
Picture: Pampers China