Barry Callebaut Group has opened a new office and a new Chocolate Academy center in Beijing, China, its second in the country.
The new office and the new Chocolate Academy center will assist Barry Callebaut’s local customers with onsite training and application support. This latest investment supports Barry Callebaut’s efforts in growing its presence in the region as well as an appreciation of the strategic importance of the Chinese market.
“As a global leader in the chocolate industry, serving food manufacturers and professional users of chocolate, we are excited about the great growth potential of China,” says Ben De Schryver, president of Barry Callebaut’s Asia Pacific division. “Domestic chocolate production is increasing, and we have experienced double-digit growth in China over the last four years. Our confidence in the future development of the chocolate market in China, together with the desire to better serve our Chinese customers, have prompted the expansion of our footprint and distribution network across China over the next few years.”
The new office in Beijing includes Barry Callebaut’s second Chocolate Academy center in China – the only country with two such centers – and the company’s 22nd Chocolate Academy globally. These are teaching and training centers for artisans and professionals who want to improve their skills in chocolate and learn about new trends, techniques and recipes. In the last 10 years, more than 3,500 people have attended these events at the Chocolate Academy in Shanghai.
China has been a key target market for Barry Callebaut for over a decade. In 2008, Barry Callebaut opened a chocolate factory and a Chocolate Academy center in Suzhou, followed by a relocation of the offices and the Chocolate Academy center to Shanghai in 2010. The offices in Shanghai, which will continue to be the company’s head office in China, are currently being expanded. Barry Callebaut also chose Shanghai for the global launch of Ruby, the fourth type of chocolate, in 2017.
“Barry Callebaut is well recognized by food manufacturers and the artisanal community in China for our innovative, high-quality products and superior customer service,” says George Zhang, managing director, Barry Callebaut China. “Over the years, we have built our presence in China through outsourcing agreements with a number of Chinese food manufacturers, and we have established a strong network of nationwide distribution and committed channel partners. Today’s opening of our new Beijing office and Chocolate Academy center marks a new milestone in our successful growth in this country.”
With the addition of the Beijing office, Barry Callebaut China has increased its sales representatives in the Greater China region spanning Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Taipei and extended its distribution network across 21 key and second-tier multi-million cities in China including Chongqing, Dalian, Kunming, Nanjing, Ningbo, Tianjin, Xiamen, and Wuhan.
Although the domestic chocolate industry witnessed a boost in sales volume, chocolate consumption per capita in China is still at 100 grams – with plenty of room to grow. According to analyst firm Nielsen, the chocolate confectionery category in China grew (in terms of volume growth) by 4.5 percent in the last 12 months.
In Asia Pacific, Barry Callebaut operates nine chocolate and cocoa factories and employs more than 1,800 employees. In the last 12 months, the company has expanded its sales operations in Australia, Indonesia and also in the Philippines, in addition to its existing sales offices in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Its second chocolate factory in Indonesia is currently being built in Rancaekek (near Bandung).