Groupe Danone has acquired 22.18% of Chinese fruit beverages company China Hui Yuan Juice Holdings Co for an undisclosed amount.

Danone said it aims to help Hui Yuan accelerate its development in the “fast-growing and profitable juice market in China”, and hopes to benefit from Hui Yuan’s expertise in the country.

A spokesperson for Danone told just-food: “The fruit juice segment in China is very dynamic at the moment and should produce 20% of non-alcoholic beverage growth over the next few years. We are investing in Hui Yuan as the market leader in China, with a 42% fruit juice share and 30% share in nectars and pure juices.”
Hui Yuan, which has a market share of 17% in the Chinese juice beverages market, also has a strong position in the health-oriented juice segments, including Nectar and Pure Juice.

The acquisition adds to Danone’s fruit juice presence in China, where it already owns a 51% stake of Wahaha, a more minor player with a 4% market share.

Annual per capita juice consumption in China averages 2 litres, compared with 11.5 litres in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but the country’s annual growth over the past three years has risen above 15%.