BEIJING: Unilever, the FMCG giant, is aiming to significantly increase its business in China as it takes advantage of government plans to develop the interior of the country.

"We are committed to building and sustaining a successful business in China and multiplying our business five times in ten years," Alan Jope, president of Unilever North Asia, told China Daily.

Unilever already has two manufacturing centres near the coast in Hefei and Tianjin and is now in the process of establishing its third manufacturing plant in Meishan, in Sichuan province further west.

"Sichuan has an excellent strategic location and great market potential," said Jope, noting that Chengdu, the province's capital, had been the host city for the Fortune Global Forum and has developed rapidly in recent years.

"It certainly has attracted global attention," he remarked. One particular way in which Chengdu has achieved that was through its Pambassador campaign, which saw the city partner with the World Wildlife Fund to promote protection of pandas and in doing so reinvent itself as a destination for tourism and foreign direct investment.

Unilever is also working with local government in Meishan, along with Save the Children and the China Development Research Foundation, to run its village early education centre.

Another aspect of its approach will be paying farmers for their agricultural waste including straw, corn stalks and peanut shells, to use as a fuel in the manufacture of laundry power. As well as giving farmers another revenue stream, the move will also improve air quality as farmers will no longer be burning straw stubble.

Jope explained that the old ways of doing things were changing. "We used to create innovative products in North America and bring them to China," he noted.

"Now, we have products such as Knorr, a brand of bouillon, that were originally designed and produced in the Asian market but quickly became an instant hit across the globe."

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff