Jun 21, 2012 • By

Linking Minnesota to China

At a reception in Shanghai during his recent trip to China, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said when he mentioned Minnesota during his visit, very few Chinese people had heard of it.

But when he asked people about Häagen-Dazs, all of them knew the brand.

Ice cream is popular, no matter where you are in the world!

As one of the most promising emerging markets in Asia and the world, China has increasingly attracted global attention from businesses of all kinds. In order to further improve the trade and communication between the two governments, Governor Dayton traveled to China with a delegation of Minnesota business leaders.

General Mills was one of the major sponsors of the Shanghai event with Dayton. Leaders from General Mills China attended the event and had the opportunity to meet Dayton. Gary Chu, president of General Mills Greater China, also spoke to the attendees about our company and our development and growth in China.

I was there representing Corporate Communications in my role with the company. I’m also based in Shanghai.

Gary introduced the group to many General Mills brands offered in China.

He mentioned Häagen-Dazs, which is the only super-premium ice cream brand in China. It includes four sales platforms: shop, retail, food service and gift. There are about 150 Häagen-Dazs shops in China. The most innovative and popular ice cream gift in the Chinese marketplace are mooncakes.

Gary also spoke about Wanchai Ferry and V.Pearl, two premium brands of frozen food that we offer in China.

General Mills also has two major snack brands in the country, Fruit Trix and Bugles.

At the reception with Dayton, Chu also talked about the company’s commitment as a responsible corporate citizen. He said General Mills China makes frequent contributions to provide fresh water and make improvements in nutrition, and supports local sustainable development and other charity projects including:

  • The Wanchai Ferry “Water Cellar for Mothers” Project (Video) – We’ve made donations to the China Women’s Development Foundation to build almost 1000 cisterns to provide fresh water in northwestern China.
  • Wanchai Ferry’s Nutritious Breakfast Project – We support providing nutritious breakfasts to more than 1000 students of four schools from Yunnan Xuanwei, which is one of the poorest areas in China.
  • The Häagen-Dazs Breast Cancer Aid Fund – We help nearly 200 patients from impoverished families complete surgery and related treatments, and help raise public awareness of breast cancer prevention and treatment.
  • Bugles Corn Farm in Jixi – We’ve created a business model to help sustainable development in rural areas. It has boosted the income of local farmers, as you see in this video.

We enjoyed hosting Governor Dayton in Shanghai and having the opportunity to present information to his delegation about General Mills Greater China.