The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis announced in late October that it intends to form a joint venture with the Minsheng Pharmaceutical Group to make vitamin and mineral products for the Chinese market. The agreement marks Sanofi-Aventis’s first foray into China’s burgeoning over-the-counter (OTC) product market—which Oliver Charmeil, the company’s senior vice president for pharmaceutical operations in Asia/Pacific and Japan, said is expected to become the world’s second largest OTC market by next year.
Minsheng Pharmaceutical Group, which is based in Hangzhou, currently produces the most popular supplements in China, the 21-Super Vita multivitamin-multimineral tablets. Sanofi-Aventis will own a majority share in the joint venture; other financial details were not disclosed.
Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis estimated that the Chinese OTC market, which is dominated by vitamin and mineral products, generated just over $10 billion in sales in 2008 and is projected to grow by double-digit percentages for the next five years. According to Nutrition Business Journal estimates, China’s domestic supplement market is already worth approximately $7 billion and makes up about 10% of global supplement sales.
Minsheng has occupied the top sales position in China’s vitamin and mineral supplements market for many years, but the Chinese company is facing growing competition from foreign supplement brands, including Amway’s Nutrilite, Wyeth’s Centrum and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Theragran Gold, according to China Bio Today.
NBJ’s upcoming Global Nutrition Industry Overview issue, which will publish in December, will offer a deep dive into China’s domestic supplement sector and include updated sales and growth estimates for this and other world markets. Order a copy of this 48-page double issue, subscribe to NBJ or download a free sample issue via the NBJ Website.
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