Case Study

Danone & Wahaha: A bitter-sweet partnership

24 pages
June 2008
Reference: IMD-3-1949

For most of 2007, a public dispute was going on between Danone and Wahaha over their joint venture in China. The “antagonism” had even led to the Chinese and French presidents calling on both companies to resume “peace talks” and find an amicable solution. The Danone & Wahaha case looks into how this ten year plus and once “sweet” partnership turned sour. It serves as a basis to further explore what could have been considered as a “win-win” partnership; how it was formed, further developed and how to anticipate and mitigate certain risks when doing business in China or other emerging markets, for example, how to define growth and the share of risks and rewards. It then examines what will happen next and the future outlook or likely scenario for Danone’s businesses in China.

Learning Objective

The key learnings in this case will apply to how to make all partnerships work, whether with Chinese partners or not, those based on principles of equality and mutual benefits, tolerating minor differences and reach mutual understandings.

Joint Venture, Strategic Partnership, Expansion, Diversification, Ownership Control, Management Control, Dispute, Arbitration, Litigation, Risk Management, Fast-moving Consumer Goods
Published Sources
© 2008
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note
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