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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Coca-Cola & China

Coca-Cola Greater China & Korea President at CEIBS Executive Forum

October 19, 2017. Shanghai – With per capita consumption of Coca-Cola in China now at 43 bottles per year, Coca-Cola Greater China & Korea President Mr. Curt Ferguson has developed a profound understanding of Chinese consumers, and tonight he shared those insights with CEIBS students and alumni during an Executive Forum at the Shanghai Campus. His lively and humorous lecture was well-received by the audience.

Using the company’s juice brand Minute Maid as an example, Mr. Ferguson explained how Coca-Cola builds its business in local markets. He said that Chinese consumers like to have pulp in their orange juice, while in other countries consumers prefer their juice pulp free. So the company prepares different formulas of its juice for different markets, and for China it has introduced a new formula with triple pulp.

He also noted that China is not a “one size fits all” market, consumers in different regions and market segments have different preferences. The company has 47 factories, 47,000 workers and 11 million outlets in the country. A 33-year veteran of Coca-Cola with experience working in 48 countries, Mr. Ferguson also shared his knowledge of the company’s performance in different markets around the world, and he revealed the cruel fact that 70% of consumer products fail so part of success and innovation is in deciding which products to kill.

There are three dimensions to the company’s marketing strategy, he said: desire creation, consumer connection, and commercial edge. Coca-Cola has also used special occasions for habit building. One example of this he cited is that the company’s ad campaigns have played a role in shaping the modern image of Santa Clause in his red suit.

Mr. Ferguson leads operations in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea and Mongolia, and is responsible for a US $12 billion retail business. He joined Coca-Cola USA in Atlanta, Georgia in 1983 after working at Procter & Gamble. He transferred to Asia in 1988, where he held a variety of management and bottler positions in subsidiaries of The Coca-Cola Company in Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. In July 2000, he became Managing Director of The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt, and he became Senior Regional Director for the Western Africa region based in Morocco in late 2003. In January 2005, he was appointed President of the North and West Africa Division based in Cairo, responsible for 27 countries. He became President of the Company’s Middle East and North Africa Business Unit in 2011, where he was responsible for 34 countries.

Mr. Ferguson has been named among the Forbes Top Ten Influential Leaders in the Middle East. An alumnus of the Indiana University Kelley School, he was elected to the Academy of Alumni Fellows at Indiana University in April 2015 and is on the Board of the Indiana University Foundation and Kelley Business School Dean’s Advisory Council. He also has extensive experience as a Board Director for independent bottlers, community and business organizations.

Li, Daisy
Janine M. Coughlin