China is at that stage of its economic development where it is developing indigenous brands. Huiyuan, the country’s biggest maker of fruit juice, is one, and sufficiently powerful a one for Coca-Cola to bid $2.4 billion last September to acquire the Hong Kong-listed business. But what would have been the largest takeover of a Chinese firm by a foreign rival has been blocked by the Ministry of Commerce, as we suspected it would.
This deal was always seen as the first big test of the new anti-monopoly law, and the proposed combination has been nixed on the ground that it would give Coke too dominant a market share; Huiyuan has 42% of the domestic fruit juice market. But, as the FT reported, Coke had been considering abandoning the deal because regulators were insisting that it would have to give up the Huiyuan brand as it was too valuable to fall into foreign hands.
That will have been noted far beyond Atlanta.