Abbott infant formula poised to leave Chinese mainland market
Abbott will gradually stop selling baby formula and nutritional products such as Eleva, PediaSure and Similac on the Chinese mainland by 2023.
Citing strong competition, the company added current sales channels and customer service remain in place during the transition period.
Other sub-brands, including Total Comfort and NeoSure, will also cease operation.
"We've been engaged in stiff competition in the past few years and the decision reflects the shifting market landscape with a number of other companies already well-positioned to provide such products and services," it added.
The US-headquartered company's diagnostics, medical devices and pharmaceutical business will remain in place, it said.
"We'll continue the medical nutrition business with rising awareness for nutritional supplements for adults in Chinese mainland," it said in a notice.
Cross-border import channels will still be in place for overseas products to reach local customers with child and infant nutritional products. They're separate from those sold under the general trade channel where Chinese specific food standards and production requirements are mandatory.
Industry watchers suggest that strong competitors have grabbed Abbott's market share in first- and second-tier cities and it's gradually losing ground in lower-tier cities as well.
Domestic and overseas companies like Yili, Danone, Nestle and Biostime have strong presence in the infant formula area.
The new national food safety standards set to become effective in February next year requires manufacturers to obtain relevant recipe approvals before offering new infant formula products. Existing registrations are still legit.