Photo: Ray Ally
Whenever Tibet is mentioned, the usual associations come to mind; the exiled Dalai Lama, Tibetan monks, human rights issues and the whole Chinese sovereignty debate. Now with Tibet just reopening its borders to foreign tourists, a new image could soon be springing to mind – bottled mineral water from the Tibetan Himalayas.
5100 Glacier Mineral Water, is natural spring water which is bottled at source from one of the 40,000 glaciers in the Chinese Himalayas. The mountainous region is often referred to as the ‘roof of the world’ and water from this region supplies 40% of the world population.
It therefore makes sense and is such an obvious idea (once someone has already thought it) to create a brand of water from this natural source. The name 5100 originates from the 5,100 meter high Mt. Nyenchen Tanglha where the water flows underground uncontaminated and enhanced by natural minerals and elements.
China is the world’s third-largest consumer of bottled water, mostly due to the shortage of clean water due to pollution and contamination. Other health issues have driven up demand and bottled water now accounts for over 40% of soft drinks sales. However the market is highly fragmented with many regional players competing for market share.
5100 has been in the market for a few years, positioned as a premium mineral water and is priced at the high end of the water category. It is aimed at affluent urban consumers in first tier cities, as most rural people cannot even afford buy normal bottled water. In Beijing it is sold at high-end shops and supermarkets and retails for around 6 to 9 Yuan, which is more than double other brands.
Consumers in China love premium brands but it’s too early to tell if this brand can scale the mountainous heights and compete with the category heavyweights of Perrier and Evian which are strongly linked to their country of origin. However, if successful 5100 could help put Tibet on the global water map and put it’s brand on top of the world.