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Oatly has opened its first factory in China to accelerate growth across Asia.
Oatly has just opened its first factory in China, just months after it established its first Asian production site in Singapore. The Swedish oat milk giant described the new factory in the Eastern Chinese city of Ma’anshan as part of its “wider initiative to build factories fit for the future” and to meet growing demand across Asia.
It marks the sixth facility Oatly operates around the world, having built its first Asian factory in Singapore in partnership with local beverage brand Yeo’s during the summer. Oatly says the new Ma’anshan site will be able to produce 150 million litres of oat-based products each year at full capacity.
Capturing the Chinese market
Speaking about its expanded production capacity in China, Oatly CEO Toni Petersson said that it is part of the company’s broader mission to “be a leader in the shift to a more plant-based future” and bring its factories “closer to our consumers”.
“The Chinese market is an important part of Oatly’s global expansion, and the Chinese people play a big part in shifting towards a more sustainable and mainstream plant-based consumption,” he added. “We are confident in the continued growth of the Chinese market and that the new Chinese factory will accelerate our mission.”
Driven primarily by food safety and health concerns, Chinese consumers have been gradually opening up to alternative proteins. One report identified China as one of the biggest growth drivers of the alternative protein industry in the coming years, with demand set to surge by 200% within five years.
Expansion across Asia
The new production plant will also help Oatly double down its footprint in Asia, though it has also continued to solidify its position across Western markets, with its plan to open “one of the world’s largest plant-based dairy factories” in the UK by 2023.
Oatly’s Singapore plant operated in partnership with Yeo’s began operations in mid-2021 to supply the Chinese market, but will now be shipping out across Asia with the Ma’anshan factory to meet demand domestically.
“The opening of the first factory in China provides more capacity for Oatly in Asia, supporting the global expansion and meeting the increasing market demand,” said David Zhang, Asia president at Oatly.
Oatly’s latest news comes after it experienced a rocky week in the stock market, with its shares plunging nearly 20% after news of its revised sales guidance and delays in orders were revealed.
All images courtesy of Oatly.