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March 06, 2012

World News

Growing Appetite for Nutritional Supplements in China

A recent ChinaDaily USA article stated that improved living standards in urban cities and the belief that vitamins contribute to better health have created a huge demand for nutritional supplements in China in recent years. This bodes well for American direct sellers of nutritional products looking to break into the Chinese market.

According to the article, Chinese expenditures on health products over the past two decades grew annually at a rate between 15-30 percent compared to 13 percent in developed countries over the same period. Average spending on healthcare products in 2011 by Chinese consumers accounted for 0.1 percent of their total expenditures, compared to 0.03 percent in developed countries.

The sale of vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as food and drug additives in China, is estimated to reach 600 billion yuan ($95.2 billion, 73 billion euros) by 2015. Despite the fact that most of the world’s vitamins are produced in China, the demand for nutritional supplements has attracted manufacturers from around the world.

Statistics from a China Health Care Association report show that over the past 15 years 644 types of nutritional supplements have been exported to China—63 percent from the United States.

Michigan-based Amway is one of the biggest foreign players, leading the overall dietary supplement sales in 2010 in China with a 16-percent market share.

General Nutrition Centers, a Pennsylvania-based retailer and producer of health and nutritional products, is another competitor. It has launched products in major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Zhang Yongjian, an expert with the China Health Care Association, says one reason international vitamin makers are in demand is that most of the vitamins produced in China are shipped overseas and sold under foreign brands.

“More and more Chinese consumers, particularly in big cities, are looking for international leading brands that can provide trusted product quality and innovative product lines,” Zhang says.

To view the full ChinaDaily USA article, go to