LIG looks to expand Durex market in Chinese joint venture

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The Independent Online
THE WORLD'S biggest condom manufacturer has set its sights on the world's largest potential market. London International Group (LIG) yesterday announced the establishment of China's first condom joint venture, a Durex manufacturing operation aimed at the growing number of relatively wealthy young, urban couples who are limited to one child under the country's strict family planning policies.

Condom usage in China is low, accounting for 4 per cent of contraceptive use. Almost all the 1.22 billion condoms produced annually in China are unbranded products manufactured by state-owned factories and given away free to married couples. The commercial retail condom market is limited and it is difficult for Chinese to obtain condoms if they are unmarried.

Under yesterday's agreement, LIG will invest $3.5m (pounds 1.8bn) for a 50 per cent share in the joint venture company, Qingdao London International Latex Company. The Chinese partner is China's second-biggest state condom manufacturer, based in Qingdao, Shandong province. LIG will bring in the latest technology and a management team, with an initial planned production of 158 million Durex condoms a year, of which 20 per cent must be exported and the rest sold in China as branded retail product.