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How Does Haagen-Dazs Succeed in China?

Why does Haagen-Dazs, an ordinary brand in the United States, succeed in China?


Haagen-Dazs is a US ice cream brand established by Polish immigrants Reuben and Rose Mattus in 1961. After forty years’ development, it continues to be an ordinary ice cream brand in the US with its products being available in supermarkets and auto selling machines. Various US airlines, such as United Airlines and Delta, provide free Haagen-Dazs ice cream for their passengers on the flights.


However, the US ice cream brand gained unmatched success in China. It turns into a high-end brand and stands for luxury in the world’s most populated country. Once upon a time, (is it still the standard? Once upon a time means it used to be the standard) Haagen-Dazs, as well as Starbucks and IKEA, was the standard to judge the city’s modernity. A city with no Haagen-Dazs, Starbucks and IKEA was not considered a modern city.


Haagen-Dazs got into the Chinese market about nine years ago. By the end of 2010, it had established 25 stores in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Dalian, Nanjing, and other cities. Apparently, it earned its fame in China from its “natural resources”, “sweet taste” and “high price”.


But the real success elements lie in the brand positioning, marketing, advertising and so on.


Brand Positioning


Haagen-Dazs targeted the high-end consumers, whom the company called “nobles of China”, when it initially entered the Chinese market. It chose Shanghai as its first destination. Before establishing stores in Shanghai, the company made a complete survey of the mindsets of consumers, especially the young ones, in Shanghai. In order to make the consumers pay for its high-price ice cream, Haagen-Dazs established itself as the representative of fashion and luxury.


When Haagen-Dazs began its business in China, it was determined to sell expensive ice cream products. Thanks to the survey, Haagen-Dazs became familiar with the preference of Chinese people for expensive goods. In China, people believe that eating in a high-end restaurant or wearing designer clothes could earn “face” for them. They especially “believe in” foreign brands that may be not that “noble” as they expect.


Haagen-Dazs wanted to be one of the destinations that Chinese people will go to when they want to show off with their wealth and luxury. A pack of Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream costs more than 200 yuan (USD 30.42) in China that makes it unaffordable for Chinese middle-class. The same pack of ice cream costs 3 to 5 US dollars in the USA. However, targeting high-end consumers Haagen-Dazs was able to find its succeeds in China.


Marketing Methods


Apart from the mindsets of Chinese consumers, Haagen-Dazs’ marketing is the major factor for its success in China. Many experts think that Haagen-Dazs’ marketing methods could serve an example for other companies.


Firstly, Haagen-Dazs only establishes stores in the downtown area of big cities in China. This prevents customers from going to the Haagen-Dazs stores wearing their baggy pants and sweatshirts like they do when they go for groceries in the supermarkets next to their homes. In addition, establishing its stores in downtown area of big cities shows Haagen-Dazs’ pursuit of luxury.


Secondly, Haagen-Dazs attaches importance to the decoration of its stores. Luxury is not the only element. Haagen-Dazs also lays emphasis on the coherence between the setting of its stores and the customer’s mood. The design of Haagen-Dazs’ stores helps the customers to relax after a busy workday. In that way Haagen-Dazs makes its customers feel better.


Thirdly, Haagen-Dazs puts a lot of effort in improving its brand awareness. In order to maintain its image of a representative of fashion and luxury, Haagen-Dazs engages celebrities in its advertisements, which are frequently shown on Chinese TV.


It is worth to mention Haagen-Dazs’ advertisements, which impress a lot of customers. Its slogan “Love her, bring her to Haagen-Dazs” combines the ice cream with love – the eternal topic for people. This slogan makes many young lovers and couples remember Haagen-Dazs. Chinese couples buy Haagen-Dazs not only because of the ice cream, but also because buying this brand makes them feel stylish and in love.


In conclusion, Haagen-Dazs drops the traditional marketing method, targets a certain group of customers and then holds a series of promotion campaigns. Its location, style and ambience attract a lot of youngsters, who are the majority of its customers.




Successful marketing has to be supported by genuine products. Though Haagen-Dazs may not be the best ice cream, it still tastes better than ordinary ice cream in China, like Walls. In fact, the ingredients of its ice cream are imported from the USA by air every day. The machines for making ice cream are imported from the USA, Germany and France. The packages of ice cream are made in France. All these factors lead to a high price of Haagen-Dazs ice cream products. These factors also encourage Chinese customers to choose for Haagen-Dazs.


In addition to the ice cream, Haagen-Dazs also introduced ice cream moon cake in China. This product, combining ice cream with the traditional Chinese moon cake, won the hearts of customers and became the most popular Haagen-Dazs product in China.