Chinese demand supercharges Australian vitamin makers

Chinese demand supercharges Australian vitamin makers

BANGKOK - The star of the Australian Stock Exchange's benchmark ASX200 index last year was not a mining company, a financial services group or the hottest tech startup, but a health supplement supplier, Blackmore's, which has been listed for 30 years.

In 2015, the share price of the family-controlled company soared 620 per cent on the back of accelerating growth in sales and profit as Chinese and other Asian middle-class consumers displayed an apparently insatiable demand for health products.

"Recent growth in the sale of vitamins in Australia has been driven by rising demand from offshore consumers, particularly those from China," noted JPMorgan Chase, an investment bank, recently.

The Chinese are showing more interest in healthy foods and lifestyles, especially in response to the country's continuous food contamination scares. Dietary supplements are one choice for consumers looking to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

"In China and many parts of Asia, where traditional medicine is universally used, you never have to explain the benefits -- it's just a Westernized and clean version of traditional remedies," Christine Holgate, Blackmore's chief executive, told the Nikkei Asian Review.

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