top of page

How a Chinese indie brand reaches RMB 4 billion valuation only within 4-year development?

“元气森林 (Yuan Qi Sen Lin)” is a Chinese indie beverage brand established in April 2016. After only 4-year development, the brand has reached RMB 4 billion valuation.

It’s famous for 0 fat, 0 sugar and 0 calorie drink (milk tea, soda water etc.). During last year 618 mid-year shopping festival, it sold out 2.26 million bottles of drink, ranking No. 1 in beverage category. Last year during 11. 11, its sales volume exceeded Coca Cola and Pepsi.

You may wonder how did they become so successful in such a short time and in such a competitive beverage market. In this article I will analyze the brand’s strategy from 3 aspects:

1. The popular “Sugar Control” concept

Young customers are paying more attention to the healthy diet. According to the data released by Ipsos, over 73% customers pay attention to products’ ingredient list. On RED there are more than 60k posts related to drinks with low sugar and over 120k posts related to low calories. And this is exactly the biggest selling point of “元气森林”.

2. Creative packaging and name

The report from Ipsos showed that 83% customers are attracted by the product packaging. The name and packaging of “元气森林” include elements of Heng Feng (和风), which originate from Japan and become popular in China in recent years. Besides, one word in the brand name - “气” is actually a Japanese word. The Japanese style is very attractive to millennials and Gen Z who grew up watching Japanese animations and comics.

3. Marketing strategy targeting young consumers

“元气森林” invited a celebrity Daxun Wei (魏大勋) to be the brand ambassador, who used to be overweight and lost weight successfully. This experience matches perfectly with the brand’s low calorie and healthy diet selling point.

Besides, “元气森林” also sponsored several popular reality shows such as “Our Songs (我们的歌)” and food documentaries collaborating with Bilibili, targeting Gen Z. In the documentary, it’s also showing many scenarios such as hot pot and BBQ when you may be drinking “元气森林” drinks.

However, recently there are also some negative news about the brand – being accused of fake and plagiarized packaging. People are now re-examining the brand. What will be the future of “元气森林”? Recently alcohol tea drinks are becoming super popular. Will “元气森林” launch new product such as soda water with alcohol? Let’s see!


bottom of page