Chocolate Fortunes

Chocolate Fortunes

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Allen, Lawrence L. AMACOM, 2010 Audio summary available
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IN THIS SUMMARY

Until about 25 years ago, almost no one in China had ever eaten a piece of chocolate. For the world's leading chocolate makers, this was both a great challenge and a great opportunity. In Chocolate Fortunes, Lawrence L. Allen tells the story of China's great "chocolate war," which began in the early 1980s and continues today. Allen recounts the major successes and failures of the chocolate manufacturers known as the Big Five: Mars, Nestlé, Hershey, Cadbury, and Ferrero. Each of the Big Five faced unique pitfalls and successes in China, but ultimately it was Mars who emerged victorious. Ferrero enjoyed limited success by focusing on China's high-end gift-giving market. Cadbury's downfall was caused by a poor understanding of China's culinary traditions and unstable management. Hershey's immense success in China was undone by poor management decisions in its international division. Nestlé suffered because of stubborn executives who refused to abandon unsuccessful strategies, especially with regards to product packaging. Mars' success was due to its unwavering commitment to China and its patience in seeing its strategy through. Allen provides several pieces of advice for the Big Five and for new chocolate makers looking to break into China's complex chocolate market. These businesses must utilize new forms of mass communication, especially the internet; continue to capitalize on China's preference for foreign brands with or without the use of factories in China; and introduce a variety of products at several different price ranges, since China's population is divided into many stages of development. Mars emerged victorious due to their long-term commitment, stamina, and unrelenting focus. These are precisely the qualities that will win future battles in China's chocolate war.