Germany's Symrise has been expanding in China since 1982, when the company started its business as an international supplier of fragrances and flavors on the Chinese mainland. In August, Symrise China celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Its bold and forward-looking venture into the Chinese market paid off, as the country developed into a key global market. Over the past decade, sales of fragrances, flavors, healthcare and nutrition products have more than doubled, with an annual increase of around 6 percent. This has contributed significantly to the group's average annual growth of 8 percent over the past decade.
The rapid growth has led to some important milestones in its 40-year history in China, including the opening of a creative center in Shanghai's Pudong district in 2018.Both creation and market research have taken place at the site, in which Symrise invested 8 million euros.
Another highlight was the opening of a flavor and fragrance production facility in Nantong, Jiangsu province, in 2020.
At 50 million euros, the project represents the largest single investment of Symrise in China to date. A substantial amount of the money went into state-of-the-art liquid flavor production.
In January 2021, a new office opened for the Food & Beverage team in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Shanghai.
With the high standards and requirements of China's government for food safety, Symrise will continue to be a strong partner.
China has established itself as the world's second-largest economy, making it a key market for Symrise. With a share of 6 percent of total sales, China currently ranks third behind the United States and Germany among Symrise's biggest markets.
Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, CEO of Symrise AG, said: "Symrise has been committed to China since 1982, and today more clearly than ever, we can see how this commitment has paid off. We are generating more than one-fourth of our more than 3 billion euro global turnover in Asia. And 1,500 of our 10,000 employees work in Asia. This achievement is also based on our long-term history here."
"Our customers and business partners, who are key to our joint success, very much value our commitment. I am firmly convinced that the importance of China for our industry will further increase. We consider it, therefore, our strategic ambition to support this dynamic country. And we will continue to invest in our presence in China. Globally, we invest approximately 200 million euros in research and development annually. In addition, we invest another 200 million euros per year in our infrastructure to advance our facilities. A big portion of our investments will go to China."
"A decisive contribution to the company's success comes from its focus on customers and consumers on-site and the simultaneous use of state-of-the-art technologies and innovations. In this context, it is particularly important to identify current trends and orient ourselves to them," he added.
In the food and beverage sector, Chinese consumers have a growing desire for healthy food. In particular, they demand products with little or no sugar.
In response, Symrise is developing sugar-free products for the Chinese market. To do this, it can draw on its expertise in taste balancing technology.
The company has invested heavily in research and technology to become a true specialist in the sweetness perception of food and beverages. To that end, it has collaborated with major universities and other institutions. The trend in the West toward a desire for naturalness and authenticity is also taking place in China. This applies especially to ingredients such as vanilla, a popular flavor of dairy products in China.
For beverages, on the other hand, citrus fruits enjoy a particular popularity.
From lemon in Calabria and Sicily, Italy and grapefruit from South Africa, Symrise's global sourcing network enables tailored citrus taste to deliver naturalness and authenticity for both global and regional players in the Chinese market.
Meanwhile, Symrise is expanding its local sourcing footprint. The growing importance of Chinese taste preference has added to this. In the near future, more raw materials will be directly sourced from local areas to address increasing consumer demands for local taste.
In the snacking market, Symrise has established itself as a seasoning expert providing innovative flavor with authentic tastes for crisps, crackers and many more treats.
There is an increasing demand for products with traditional Chinese flavors. Symrise's consumer research team has identified the classic spice blend "Mala" as a popular flavor preferred by Chinese consumers.
For the future, the company holds strong confidence in the Chinese market and wants to continue its commitment in the region. A large part of its annual global 400 million euro investment will go to China. Among other things, money will go into the expansion of laboratory and office space in Beijing and office space in Shanghai.
The company will also focus on sustainability. To this end, Symrise plans to successively improve its eco-balance and increasingly develop sustainable products.
In this way, the company is assuming responsibility for the environment and society. It intends to move further on this path together with its colleagues in China and continue its successful cooperation.