Foodmaker Nongshim on Wednesday started constructing a bottled water factory where water from Mt. Baekdusan ― sitting on the border between China and North Korea ― will be processed for consumers in China.
The country’s No.1 instant noodle and snack maker is hoping that the new plant will help the company advance into China by supplying up to 80 percent of the product to Chinese supermarkets.
|A rendering of Nongshim’s Baeksansu plant. (Nongshim)|
“The plant will pave the way for us to compete with international mineral water producers. This will be our new source of income for the next 100 years,” said Park Jun, CEO of Nongshim, at the groundbreaking ceremony held in Yanbian of Jilin Province in China on the day.
According to the manufacturer of the global instant noodle hit “Shin Ramyun,” the 84,000 square-meter-plant will be capable of producing 1 million tons of bottled “Baeksansu,” water from Mt. Baekdusan, a year once it starts production on Sept. 18, 2015. The company already has a factory nearby with a capacity to produce 250,000 tons of drinking water a year.
Nongshim has invested 200 billion won ($196 million) into the project, according to officials. Water from Mt. Baekdusan has lately attracted international businesses for the more than 20 kinds of minerals it contains, the company said.
Nongshim is also reportedly hoping Baeksansu could win back its Korean market share.
The company had been the retail agent for the country’s best selling bottled water, “Samdasu” up until 2012 before it was replaced by Gwang Dong Pharmaceutical, which inherited a 43 percent market share and about 200 billion won in annual sales with water from Mt. Hallasan on Jejudo Island.
Nongshim launched Baeksansu in 2012 to help reclaim its fame but has yet to be successful. The brand, however, is increasingly being sold overseas, and some companies such as POSCO buy it in bulk to supply to its overseas employees in Japan.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com