Genki Forest, the fast-growing Chinese beverage company that aims to become “China’s Coca-Cola”, has reportedly purchased a stake in Ningxia-based Chinese winery Xige Estate for an undisclosed amount, according to Chinese media reports.
Founded in 2016, Genki Forest is a Chinese soft drink brand that specializes in sparkling water and instant tea. Due to the increased health awareness among Chinese drinkers, Genki Forest’s relatively healthier products that are low in calories and sugar have successfully catered to a substantial target market in China.
The homegrown soft drink brand reported RMB 7 billion (US$1.04 billion) in sales in 2022, following years of high speed growth, and it set a target of RMB 10 billion for 2022.
Aiming to become the Chinese equivalent of Coca-Cola, Genki Forest is valued at US16 billion by the end of 2021 and its chairman Tang Binsen is also named on of the richest Chinese billionaires in food and beverage industry by Forbes, with a total net worth estimated at US$1.5 billion.
The investment in Xige Estate, one of the most modern Chinese wineries that is likened to Penfolds, also marks the soft drink company’s first venture into alcoholic beverage. Similarly, other soft drinks giants within the country including Nongfu Spring and Huiyuan Juice have also tapped into drinks market in recent years.
It’s not immediately known the amount of investment or if Genki plans to launch a wine range with Xige any time soon. But Xige has confirmed the investment from Genki to a Chinese media outlet.
Located in Gezi Mountain sub-region of Helan Mountain, Ningxia, Xige was founded by Zhang Yanzhi in 2017, who also owns wine import and distribution company Beijing Easy Cellar.
With an investment of close to US$45 million, the winery sprawls 25,000 square meters with over 1000 ha vineyards and claims to have the most advanced winemaking equipment in China.