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Brand owners diversify in China

Major companies such as Unilever, Continental and Foxconn are moving into emerging cities in China, where they can gain access to untapped consumer markets and lower costs.

Unilever, the FMCG giant, has shifted seven plants from Shanghai to Hefei, which saw economic growth of 15 percent last year, versus 9.2 percent for China as a whole. According to the firm, between 200 million and 300 million people also live within 500km of Hefei.

"Cities in central China and even some in the west are becoming a new driving force for China’s economy," said Zeng Xiwen, Unilever’s VP, North told Bloomberg.