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Bottled Water In China – Boom Or Bust?

China Water Risk Report - Bottled Water In China-Boom Or Bust24 September, 2015 - It has only taken China two decades to become the world’s largest bottled water consumer and a major producer. But given China’s much publicized water woes from pollution to scarcity and droughts, can China’s bottled water market continue to boom?  We explore this in our new report, Bottled Water In China – Boom Or Bust?

The report seeks to go behind the bottle to explore the rise of the bottled water industry and its exposure to physical water risks. It also reviews the steps taken by the government to protect water sources and regulate the bottled water industry. We also take a look at provincial actions which may be somewhat contradictory to national actions. In a country with not a lot of water, the future of bottled water could look very different. Key highlights from the report below.

Key highlights:

  • China’s bottled water consumption has exploded from a mere 2.8 million m3 in 1997 to 39.5 million m3 in 2013, growing much faster than the global average;
  • In 2013 China consumed 15% of bottled water globally, surpassing the US to become the No.1 consumer;
  • The convenience factor and concern over drinking water safety are key drivers of the rapid growth;
  • But the lack of regulations for bottled water means that consumers are left in the dark about water quality and can actually just be drinking tap water;
  • This booming market has attracted both domestic and foreign investments but can still be 8.5x larger;
  • Bottled water is water intensive and energy intensive – water use by the industry in 2012 can fill more than 20 west lakes. The industry also uses one Jinmao Towers of plastic a year and its energy consumption is comparable to the annual electricity generated by the Three Gorges Dam (98.1TWh);
  • Up to almost three extra bottles of water as well as a quarter bottle of oil are needed to produce one bottle of water;
  • The government is moving to protect water through various plans like the Water Ten. This will impact the bottled water industry and means contradictory national & provincial actions will be realigned, like exporting some of China’s highest quality water to Japan & South Korea;
  • With over 70% of China’s bottled water produced in water scarce and stressed provinces, the risk to industry has moved beyond CSR with real physical water scarcity & regulatory risks; and
  • Bottled water is threatening China’s groundwater and Asia’s glacial watersheds. It’s time for a bottled water revolution.

China’s bottled water stands at a fork in the road: the future is uncertain.

For a country that has an average per capita water resource that is roughly a quarter of the world average, producing bottled water is a luxury. The bottled water you are drinking has great impact. Know what you are drinking with our comprehensive overview.

The report is available in English  & Chinese. (If you are in China and the English report is taking a while to download, please click here)

You can also check out “8 Things You Should Know About Bottled Water In China & The Rise Of Plastic Walled Cities” in English & Chinese.

China Water Risk Report - Bottled Water In China-Boom Or Bust - CN

2015年9月24日 - 中国只用了不到20年时间,就成为世界上最大的瓶装水消费国。备受水污染与水资源短缺困扰的中国,能否支撑瓶装水市场的持续繁荣?在最新发布的《中国瓶装水:繁荣还是衰败》里,我们试图寻找答案。



  • 中国瓶装水消费量从1997年的280万吨跃升至2013年的3950万吨;年复合增长率远高于全球平均水平;
  • 2013年,中国瓶装水消费量占全球总量的15%,超越美国成为全球最大的瓶装水消费国;
  • 便利性和公众对饮水安全的担忧是支撑中国瓶装水市场高速增长的主要驱动因素;
  • 2011年,中国近20%城市的自来水水质不达标。由于缺乏监管,也无通畅的信息披露渠道,消费者很难获得瓶装水水质的真实信息。要知道,有时候,所谓瓶装水,不过是自来水;
  • 瓶装水市场的繁荣,已经吸引来自各行业的中外投资者的关注。比对全球其他消费大国,中国瓶装水消费量仍有8.5倍的增长空间;
  • 瓶装水即耗水,又耗能:2012年,瓶装水生产消耗的水量相当于20个西湖;包装这些饮用水所用的塑料足以填满一整座上海金茂大厦;在生产、运输、冷藏等全生命周期里,瓶装水消耗的能源相当于三峡大坝全年的发电量;
  • 根据不同的基准线资料,生产一瓶瓶装水,需要额外消耗接近3瓶水和约等于1/4瓶原油的能量;
  • 中国政府正在通过诸如“水十条”的新政加强水资源保护。这些政策将给瓶装水行业的发展带来深远的影响。在省级层面,与中央政策背道而驰的地方政策或将面临调整,如超越用水配额、向日韩出口最优质水源;
  • 中国70%的瓶装水产自缺水或用水紧张的省份。这个近千亿规模行业所暴露的风险早已超越企业社会责任的边界,其发展将受限于实际的水资源短缺和政策风险;
  • 瓶装水开发威胁地下水与“亚洲水塔”。中国需要一场瓶装水革命。