The Oreo in China: Time to get it right or to get out

Publication Type


Year Completed



In late 2005 as Shawn Warren, the head of biscuits at Kraft for Asia Pacific, surveys the China market for Oreos he knew he had to make changes and fast. The company’s flagship brand was falling far short of expectations in the world’s most populous country. This meant that the turnaround had to be quick to avoid the complete disaster of pulling the product from the shelves altogether. Oreos were first launched in China in 1996, yet sales had been flat since then while the rest of China had been setting record growth in the biscuit industry.

The Oreo case illustrates the dilemma faced by a successful multinational brand when entering an emerging market, namely China. It covers the complexity of dealing not only with differing consumer tastes, but also the challenges of local competition and distribution systems. The case provides a rich historical account of Oreo’s entry into China and the problems facing Kraft and its management as it strives to reach its full potential in a large and fast-growing emerging market. What would Warren and his team do to turn this global brand around in the world’s most populous country?


Product Innovation, Global Product Strategy, Brand Management, Business in China, Multinational Companies, Oreo, Kraft, China


Advertising and Promotion Management | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business and Corporate Communications | International Business | Marketing

Data Source

Field Research


Fast Moving Consumer Goods

Geographic Coverage


Temporal Coverage


Education Level

Executive Education; Postgraduate; Undergraduate


Singapore Management University

Case ID



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