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China considers banning infant formula ads

China is considering an advertising ban on baby formula milk with the aim of raising the exclusive breast feeding rate to 50% by 2020.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government has begun reviewing a draft amendment to the Advertisement Law, proposing to ban “dairy products, drinks and other food advertisements that claim to partly or completely substitute mother’s milk shall be banned from mass media or public venues”, Xinhua said.

Advertisers, clients, agents and publishers against the potential ban could face up to RMB 1 million in fines.

The new proposal will bring a bigger challenge to the industry.

China is one of the largest and most competitive baby food and infant formula markets. The entire market size of the country’s infant formula milk powder is almost RMB 62 billion, according to a research from Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Ltd, an agriculture and food business consulting company in China.

Another China’s consulting and market survey firm Huidian Research also predicted the scale of China’s infant food market will reach RMB 90 billion by 2015.

China’s high-end milk powder market has been dominated by the foreign brands, including Danone SA, Mead Johnson, Dumex, Fonterra, Wyeth, Nestlé and Abbott.

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