Tetra Pak hopes to encourage further growth and development in the Chinese dairy industry by overseeing the launch of a new research centre in conjunction with the People's University of China (Renda).
The packaging supplier said this week that the Renda-Tetra Pak Dairy Research Centre will allow the country's government, academics and producers to bring innovation and enhanced farming techniques to the industry.
A spokesperson for the company told DairyReporter.com that the programme was an extension of Tetra-Pak's ongoing investment in the country's dairy industry designed to encourage growth in its customer base.
"Chinese dairy is an increasingly important market for Tetra Pak," the spokesperson said. "The level of investment made therefore is directly linked to this potential."
The dairy centre has a number of aims including performing economic studies on improving dairy and milk production in the country and also providing training for farmers literally at the grass roots level of the industry.
To further focus on education with the country's dairy industry, Tetra Pak will also launch a virtual Dairy Farmers School with the Dairy Association of China. The school will aim to provide lectures and demonstrations both online and through television to boost herd management, feeding and disease control at farm level.
Economist Said Wen Tiejun of the People's University of China said the site would allow the dairy industry in the country to better meet the challenges that were occurring as a result of recent rapid growth.
"[The industry] faces a number of challenges, such as a loose link between dairy companies and farms, an underdeveloped market mechanism and an ineffective management system for raw milk quality," he stated. "I believe that our cooperation with Tetra Pak will be complementary to each other's resources, which will help ensure the sustainability of the dairy industry in China."
Tetra Pak has already begun to reap the benefits of aiding growth within the Chinese dairy market.
In November, Tetra Pak announced it has expanded its total packaging output in China to 40bn containers following completion of a €100m plant in a bid to meet the huge increases in demand for dairy products.
The expansion was the third phase of an ongoing investment strategy in the country, which since 2004 has seen annual production capacity for its packaging rise from 8bn units.
The group will further extend this focus next year with the inauguration of a new €60m packaging plant in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, increasing total annual output capacity by a further 8bn packages.
Tetra Pak's Chinese development strategy is not a unique move by the group though.
The company says it has been involved in similar dairy education and development programmes in a number of both developing and established dairy markets. According to the company, this focus has included establishing cooperation with a number of universities in Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand and the US