Lion Nathan and the Chinese Beer Industry

By Joel Podolny, John Roberts
1998 | Case No. SM47

In the 1990s many international brewers sought to enter the Chinese beer market, using a variety of strategies that differed in geographic and market segment choices, the use of alliances importing versus local production, acquisitions versus greenfield site development, marketing mix and more. This case describes the Chinese beer market and industry and the strategies adopted by several leading participants. It can be used to examine alternative strategies for entering emerging country consumer goods markets. It can also be used to examine how standard “five-forces” industry and competitor analysis must be adapted to deal with emerging economics with ill-functioning markets, poor infrastructure, highly changeable government policies and weak legal systems.

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