According to a report in China Daily, the days of imported French brands such as Evian and Perrier having a hold on half the premium bottled water market in China may soon be over.
Consumers can now find plenty of domestic high-end bottled water at any medium-sized supermarket, ranging from glacier mineral water from Tibet to spring water from Qingdao Laoshan.
The bottled water comes in different sizes, different shapes and different brands, but they have one thing in common: High-end water – whether from China or overseas – is eight times to 10 times more expensive than the cheapest domestic versions.
Increasing concerns over water safety and the deeper pockets of Chinese consumers have led to a booming market, says Liao Lei, secretary-general of the natural mineral water committee for the China Mining Association. “Around 70% of rivers have been polluted. And the pollution isn’t getting any better. Water sources that haven’t been contaminated are very scarce, which are usually located in remote areas,” he said, adding the high transport costs is one reason for the high prices of high-end bottled water.
With the improvement of living standards, more and more people want better quality drinking water, as well as safer options. Unlike in Western countries, tap water in China is undrinkable and has to be boiled before ingested.
The increasing demand for quality drinking water has made more companies jump into the high-end bottled water market, transporting the finest water over long distances.
According to Liao, the size of the bottled water market has grown at an average of 20% a year over the past decade. “With more people starting to care about the quality of their drinking water, the growth for high-end bottled market will be even faster.”