Iron Shamrock

Iron Shamrock

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Segmentation of the Market

The overall segmentation of the market can summarized into four basis categories: size, geography, products and distribution as depicted in the chart above. From these four categories extend the subcategories as in relation to their initial category. The size of the market as depicted can be broken down into such subcategories as: Lots of small breweries, and few regional big brewers (5) in all. Geography, the geography of the industry and location of any particular consumer and producer can be generalized in four specific regions: North/ Northeast, East, Mid-China and the South. Products, there are three potential product categories that exist in china as well as the rest of the world and these can be categorized into premium, standard and economy beers. Lastly, Distribution, the distribution in international companies is exceedingly important when establishing a market in a foreign country, for these are the ways in which a company’s products will reach the market. The main distribution channels in which the product, in this case beer, will reach consumers in China are as follows: independent food stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets External Environmental Analysis Political and Technological The political environment of China is highly decentralized; although many westerners believed their government to be highly bureaucratic and centralized in nature. An additional layer of bureaucracy was added by the communistic government. With this additional layer, the provincial and local governments were given a very significant sway of affairs in there province or region. When speaking of an understated hierarchy of power, a party must realize that not only do the government officials in the Chinese government hold power, but that the local and provincial authorities do as well. A deal of any sorts can be tied up in government rigmarole for weeks, or even years, because a party did not establish proper connections or “build bridges” with the local government or provincial government. The Chinese are presumed to be technologically advanced within the U.S. market; but poor infrastructures make for a challenge on the home front. Economical & Environmental The economical growth in China is exploding at an alarming rate with an ever increasing consumer base. However, the breweries that were supplying these consumers were sometimes backed by local governments; which allowed these breweries to operate on a not for profit basis. This not for profit business strategy, employed by the Chinese government, was not a luxury that foreign entities were able to take advantage of; meaning that competition in the Chinese market was bloody and at times hostile.

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This became apparent in the first attempt of foreign entities trying to enter into the market years before. In china, at the time of this case, it was estimated that between 500 and 1000 breweries existed. Although none of these breweries were dominate in the national market, there were powerful regional ones, five to be exact. In the more urban markets, such as Hong-Kong and Beijing, the pub and bar scene began to emerge offering imports at premium prices. This was due to the large influence the West began to play in these urban settings. The United Kingdom, the United States and Germany were still ahead of China in consumption rate; yet, since China’s population was growing, and consumption was following, leading brewers were taking sudden interest. With urbanization crawling to the top, one can assume that the Chinese market would be the ideal market. This was followed by high prices for foreign investment; consequentially, costly exit prices were just around the corner. The lesson of pricey foreign investment within Chinese breweries was not yet learned; soon, foreign investors were pushed out by local producers. Due to the cost effective inside breweries, foreign investments were not needed. The Chinese, noticeably, became worried about environmental issues surrounding the country. Urbanization can create a better economy, job market, and foreign industrial revolutions; quite oppositely, it can also cause pollution, over population and sheer chaos. The Chinese were sincerely concerned for the environmental effects of this industry and urbanization. Social and Legal Comparable to the United States, the typical Chinese consumer of beer was from a low income family and overly price conscious. In order to profit from the Chinese, foreign investors must have had significantly higher priced beer than that of the locals. Understandably, the Chinese consumers purchased domestic beer 99.5 percent of the time. This stems from affordability and perhaps, favorability. The restaurant and bar scenes were anything but booming; according to the text, twice as much beer was consumed at home. Along with the aforementioned, yet another obstacle to overcome would be high tax rates on beer. Selling alcohol for a relatively low price, with a high tax rate makes raising prices almost impossible. With a growing consumer population and rise in household income, a rise in price is necessary. Neverthelessin the Chinese market, this may be necessarily impossible. Also, sharing technological information and knowledge is required, making the market a difficult one. Porter’s Five Forces of Competition Porter’s Five Forces of Competition A severe threat of substitution is a main reason of the competitive market in dealing with the Chinese. The alcohol market is vast; subsequently, the Chinese are not concerned with brand loyalty or taste, but solely price driven. Substitution relies on the four different regional locations of the Chinese consumer. Reaching all regions, all economically diverse, poses a great challenge. In addition, the threat of new market entrants is overwhelming. China has a very large potential for growth within the beer industry. The average sale price is low and the target population is a growing one; when the average income rises, market size and price does as well. Additionally, the bargaining power of suppliers becomes a feat. The suppliers are fragmented and foreign brewers are willing to pay high prices for even minority positions in local breweries. With the statistically low income of Chinese beer drinkers living in the agricultural heartland, they are extremely price conscious. There are no dominating national or international brewers within this market, which allows rivalry among competitors. The top five firms in the industry make for 38 percent of the market.
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