Friday, June 29, 2007

The New Opium Wars

In the 19th Century Britain went to war twice so traders could get the Chinese people addicted to opium .

Now i read with the decrease in the numbers of smokers in the West and increased restrictions where to smoke and how to adverise their cancer causing wares , cigarette companies are now expanding business in China , home to one in four of the world's smokers , a market of 350 million smokers .

"Even a small share of the market for any of the big multi-nationals would be quite considerable," admits Dave Betteridge, spokesman for London-based British American Tobacco (BAT), the world's second-largest cigarette maker.

"China remains a goldmine for tobacco companies; that's why foreign firms are keen to get into the market. The sky's the limit," Mary Assunta, chair of the anti-smoking group Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

In order to tap into this market, foreign tobacco firms employ a range of tactics, such as forming joint ventures with the China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC), which controls the cigarette industry in the country. Philip Morris International signed a deal with CNTC two years ago to make Marlboro cigarettes in China. Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher, two other major tobacco firms, have pursued similar deals. BAT, which has tried to set up a joint venture in China, is still in talks with the Chinese about expanding sales there. Foreign tobacco firms have also been accused of encouraging the smuggling of their cigarettes into China .

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