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Chocolate (巧克力 qiǎokèlì) consumption in China is pretty low.
An average Chinese person enjoys no more than 100–200 grams chocolate in a year, a tiny amount compared to the chocolate consumption on the west. Some European countries consume more than 4 kilos of chocolate per capita. Chinese don’t have the western habit of eating a sweet dessert at the end of the meal. The Chinese cuisine believes in balancing the five tastes – sour, bitter, spicy, salty, and sweet – and none of them should overwhelm the others.
Zhōngguó méiyǒu xīfāng nàyàng de fàn hòu tiándiǎn.
China doesn’t have the western custom of eating dessert after a meal.
And yet the Chinese market, with its 1.3 billion people, tempts international chocolate companies to try their luck. The fact that the amount of chocolate sold in China accounts for less than 2 percent of total global consumption doesn’t discourage giant chocolate trademarks. They cast their trust on urban Chinese youngsters. The new generation is open to the west and is more willing to try new things, including sweet snacks. Gradually, they believe, chocolate will be the next thing among trendy urban Chinese populations.
The western brands covet the potential growth and are ready to boost yield for the Asian market. Mondelēz International company hit the Chinese shelves in 2016 with their Milka chocolate, joining top chocolate brands like Mars, Ferrero, Nestlé, and Hershey. Mondelēz International company set foot in China years ago, and already owns two factories in Suzhou, in which Oreo is been manufacturing. Their new line of Milka for China had been launched in Suzhou under the name 妙卡 (Miào kǎ).
Hershey opened an Asia innovation center in Shanghai, and soon realized that the local consumers prefer their Hershey’s Kisses – 好时之吻 (Hǎo shí zhī wěn) – smoother and less sweet. The companies try to appeal the Chinese market by all means. The M&M’s World chocolate store in Shanghai named the famous long wall of M&M selections 巧克力长城 (qiǎokèlì chángchéng, meaning “the great wall of chocolate”). They decorated the store with lanterns and scrolls, and put Terracotta armor and panda costume on their M&M statues.
Hǎo shí zhī wěn qiǎokèlì hūnqìng lǐhé zhuāng zàixiàn shàng chūshòu.
Hershey’s chocolate kisses wedding gift box is for sale online.
To Chinese customers, European chocolates represent high quality and high prices. Since Chinese are simply not big consumers of chocolate, and imported chocolate is considered a luxury by many Chinese, fine chocolates are usually given as gifts to business contacts, or to family and friends on special occasions, such as weddings and holidays. Watch this commercial presents Milka chocolate as the best gift for Christmas:
Ferrero Rocher (金莎巧克力 Jīn shā qiǎokèlì) sales in China highly increase during New Year celebrations. The round small bites of fine chocolate wrapped in a golden tin foil make a perfect gift for the Chinese Lunar New Year. On 2008, the Chinese Supreme Court justified Ferrero company’s law suit, and ordered its Chinese competitor, who sold similarly–packaged chocolates (wrapped in golden paper nestling in brown cases inside rectangular or heart–shaped boxes with a plastic cover), to pay 500,000 RMB compensation.
Ferrero Rocher are popular during New Year, but Mars is the one to dominate the Chinese chocolate market with its Dove chocolate (德芙 Dé fú). In attempt to increase sales, the company’s advertisements connect their chocolate to another Chinese special day – the Gaokao (高考, the Chinese National Higher Education Entrance Examination). This campaign, for example, launched 50 days before the big exam, offers the ultimate gift for students fighting for their dream – a box of德芙巧克力. Another campaign doesn’t include chocolate, but sending blessings of good luck to the struggling students, under the logo of Dove, of course. Mars Inc in their attempts to become 好礼送不停 (hǎo lǐ sòng bù tíng, literally meaning “a good present to be send nonstop”) without being decorated as small golden rounded chocolate, associated their product well into Chinese students examination routine. As it shows in this Chinese post, who ranks the five top essential things to buy before the Gaokao. Along with chair cushions, pens and Post–its, Dove was ranked number one.
But Mars Inc is not counting only on gifts, and tried to advertise their Snickers (士力架 Shì lì jià) in China as they did worldwide: a daily snack to retain strength when you are hungry.
巧克力 qiǎokèlì = chocolate
甜 tián = sweet
甜点 tiándiǎn = dessert
礼物 lǐwù = present
妙卡 Miào kǎ = Milka
好时之吻 Hǎo shí zhī wěn = Hershey’s kisses
金莎巧克力 Jīn shā qiǎokèlì = Ferrero Rocher
德芙 Dé fú = Dove
士力架 Shì lì jià = Snickers
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