Strauss launches water venture in China

Venture will be owned jointly by company's subsidiary Strauss Water HK Trading Co.; each side will make initial investment of $10 million.

STRAUSS GROUP chairwoman Ofra Strauss with Chinese 311 (photo credit: Sivan Farig)
STRAUSS GROUP chairwoman Ofra Strauss with Chinese 311
(photo credit: Sivan Farig)
Strauss Group, Israel’s second- largest food and beverage company, has entered into a joint venture with China’s home-electronics giant Haier Group to market water-purification products in China.
“This is an exciting day for Strauss Group, which is completing another milestone in its global expansion and launching an international water venture in a new continent, to meet a genuine need for healthy and high-quality drinking water there,” Strauss Group chairwoman Ofra Strauss said Sunday at a press conference in Tel Aviv.
“While this venture presents a great challenge for the Strauss Group, I am certain that our experience in entering new markets and in managing multinational partnerships will be the key to its success,” she said.
The venture will be owned jointly by Strauss Group’s subsidiary Strauss Water HK Trading Co. and Haier Group’s subsidiary Haier Whole Set Distribution Co., with each side making an initial investment of $10 million.
The new company, which will be called Haier Strauss Water, plans to launch its first products for the Chinese market in 2011.
“Our entry into China takes us to the next level in the realization of our expansion strategy across the world,” Strauss Group president and CEO Gadi Lesin said. “This partnership will leverage the combined know-how, capabilities and expertise of Strauss Water in developing water-treatment and waterpurification solutions with the leadership position and reliability of Haier in marketing, distribution and service in China.”
The products will be purchased from Strauss Water and receive distribution, sales and technical services from Haier. The Haier Group is a leader in the development, production and marketing of electrical home appliances. It has 8,000 stores and 25,000 sales points across China.
“Haier possesses the highest marketing, sales and distribution capabilities across China and worldwide,” Strauss Water CEO Rami Ronen said.
“Today, we are unveiling the Maze technology, which has been developed by our scientists over the past four years.
This technology enables us to tailor a comprehensive solution to the Chinese market, ensuring that consumers there are provided with safe, healthy water.”
The Maze Integrated Purification technology was developed by Haim Wilder of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science.
The technology is designed for home use in the initial stage. The purifier’s compact size and innovations in chemistry and microbiology give it the capacity to handle a wide range of pollutants and is tailored for conditions in emerging markets such as China and India, the companies said. The technology enables water purification through a filter without connection to a pipeline system.
In many places in China, Ronen said, consumers are not connected to a pipeline system, so the Maze technology offers a real solution to the needs of the country and a competitive advantage over other providers.
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year, subject to approval from Chinese authorities and the signing of related agreements.
Once that happens, Strauss Water will be operating in in Israel with the Tami4 brand and in England and China through the partnership with Haier.