The Guangdong Fanyu Candy Co, the once-prosperous maker of Yiqing chewing gum and Dada bubble gum, folded its operations in 2002. Why? Because the company could not compete with the famous gum that comes in the little green package. Since 2000, the Wm Wrigley Jr Co, the world’s largest maker and marketer of chewing gum, has quietly become the dominant player in the Chinese market.
It may be that no other American product, save perhaps Coca-Cola, is as widely available and ubiquitous in China as Doublemint gum. The company has extended its reach into almost every corner of the country. In fact, Wrigley has probably the widest distribution and sales network of any food manufacturing and consumer packaging company in China, with a staggering one million sales outlets – 30,000 in Shanghai alone. Wrigley’s share of China’s chewing gum market is an astounding 60%. Although the company has competitors – primarily South Korea’s Lotte and Italian company Perfetti Van Melle – no other gum company, foreign or domestic, comes close to Wrigley’s market share or sales volume.