A survey conducted by a babies and children's products industry association in Beijing showed that the average family spends at least Rmb5,000 a year on each child. Sales of baby formula alone amount to Rmb50 billion a year.
Competition between domestic and foreign baby formulas was particularly noticeable at this year's show.
Traditional milk powder manufacturers from Holland, New Zealand, Australia and France took part in the event as joint-venture companies. Their large, prominently located booths covered nearly 70% of the baby formula section.
Domestic brands still tried to compete, although their booths were much smaller than those of their foreign counterparts.
In the section on domestic brands, a promoter managed to draw large crowds with her introduction of a special yogurt for children and expectant mothers.
At another booth, a baby formula company was showing its milk sourcing network and advanced manufacturing technology on high-definition TV. Many women stopped by and watched with interest.
"The quality of baby formulas manufactured in China has shown great improvement in recent years, but at the end of the day I still find foreign brands a safer bet. My daughter has been fed Dutch milk since she was born," said one young woman with a small daughter.
"The never-ending quality scandals with domestic baby formulas are very worrying indeed and I have come to this show with this in mind. I will definitely feed my baby foreign baby formulas, but I cannot make up my mind which brand to choose at this stage," said an expectant mother.
"Foreign brands are better known, but we cannot blindly put our faith in them. Capitalising on the low standards of Chinese baby formulas, some foreign brands export low quality stuff to China and this merits attention," said another woman visitor, providing a view contrary to the trend.
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