Business / Companies

China's Tianfu cola to make comeback after 20 year hiatus

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-01-07 16:44

CHONGQING - The Chinese cola brand Tianfu, once the country's top-selling soft drink, will return to the market after being absent from shelves for nearly two decades, according to the producer on Thursday.

Tianfu Cola will be relaunched around Spring Festival (the Lunar New Year), which falls on Feb. 8 this year, said Qian Huang, general manager of the company.

Qian said Tianfu would still use its natural traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal recipe to produce the "healthy drink."

Back in 1980s and 1990s, the Chongqing-based company was the largest soft drink maker in China with a strong hold of 70 percent of the soft drink market. Tianfu Cola was sold beyond China and started to gain market recognition in Russia and America.

In 1994, the company set up a joint venture with American cola producer Pepsi, which was not successful. By 2005, Tianfu Coke's market share had plummeted to 1 percent.

Qian attributed the failure to the decision to decrease the production of Tianfu Coke to make way for the production of Pepsi-Cola.

In 2006, the company sold its stakes in the joint venture to Pepsi, however, Pepsi refused to give back Tianfu's production right.

In 2010, Tianfu took Pepsi to court accusing the US firm of stealing the secret recipe for its beverage. The court ordered Pepsi to return the formula and technical secrets, but rejected Tianfu's request for 1 million yuan ($151,700) compensation.

Qian said 2016 would witness a "reincarnation" of Tianfu. In addition to the reproduction of Tianfu Coke, the company plans to debut a new series of soft drinks including fruit juice and a protein beverage.

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