Leading the business of Nestlé in China for one year, David Zhang shares his “Personal Reflections”

Last week, Nestlé, which showed its first annual report for the Greater China region, is ready to make big moves this year.

David Zhang, Nestlé's Executive Vice President and Chairman and CEO of Nestlé Greater China, who has just returned from Nestlé's headquarters in Switzerland, held talks with Foodinc and others in Beijing today, and his busy schedule did not bring any tiredness to him.

On the occasion of his one-year tenure, David Zhang's vision for Nestlé's accelerated development in China is also clearer. In his view, Nestlé has laid out very good tracks in China, and in the future, it needs to accelerate innovation while continuing to do well in localization and digitization.

He described building a localized talent team as the "number one project". In his view, no matter whether it is brand, business, or execution, all the work of the company ultimately needs to rely on talent to land. He pointed out that talent cultivation is the most critical task for 2023 and also one of his top three priorities this year.

The other two priorities are, on the one hand, to continue to empower various business units and give responsible people sufficient room for development. On the other hand, he will also maintain timely communication with Nestlé headquarters to help the decision-making leadership and functional departments at the headquarters understand China better, share good ideas from China with the headquarters, and reflect the needs and expectations of Chinese consumers for Nestlé to the headquarters in a timely manner, thereby accelerating decision-making speed.

Although innovation is not a new topic, Nestlé hopes to take innovation to the next level this year. Regarding the previously mentioned plan to launch 200 new products this year, David Zhang said today that in terms of quantity, 200 new products are not difficult to achieve. The difficult part is to combine trends and make successful new products. In addition, the speed of product innovation also needs to be improved.

As for the expectation of price increases in the Chinese market in the future, David Zhang stated that there is currently no "aggressive target", but rather they aim to have "responsible price increases". He explained that this means that if there is pressure on the raw material or cost side, the company will focus more on internal production and consider more ways to save costs and improve efficiency from the supply and business operation side, as well as logistics, rather than simply passing all cost pressures on to consumers.

However, he also stated that if there is a slight increase in product prices in the short term, he hopes to gain understanding, because in terms of business, if a company's long-term profit margin is low or even prices decline, it is unsustainable for the company. "We hope Nestlé can continue to operate in China and grow healthily with Chinese consumers." he said.