Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever announced that it has acquired a majority stake in the Qinyuan Group, a leading Chinese water purification business.

The Unilever Pureit water purifiers and the current Qinyuan product range offer different and complementary performance and price points. The combined business offers a complete range of in home water filters for low-income consumers.

Unilever said it is the biggest Chinese acquisition in ten years but did not disclose what they paid.

Qinyuan generated sales approaching 140 million euro (1.2 billion RMB) during 2013.

dws-unilever-qinyuan-polman-350pxUnilever CEO Paul Polman

Doubling water purification business
Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: "We are delighted to be making this strategic investment – a majority stake in Qinyuan – our biggest acquisition in China for more than ten years. Unilever has been building a global water purification business with Pureit, a very effective, affordable water purification device, already present in several countries in South Asia, South East Asia, Latin America and Africa. This deal will more than double the size of our water purification business and will bring together complementary technology from Pureit and Qinyuan and leverage Qinyuan’s local marketing insight, manufacturing and distribution strength – all under the Unilever umbrella."

World class hub for water purification
Qinyuan founder, Mr Ye, who will continue to be CEO of the business, said, "We are very pleased to have been able to partner with Unilever. We think the deal brings together very relevant innovation, technology, design and manufacturing capabilities which can enable China to become an important hub in the development of the global Unilever Pureit business."

Growing C‫hinese market
The water purification market has been growing rapidly in China – over 20% per annum over the last three years – and Qinyuan has been playing an important role in developing the market.

Under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), the company aims to make safe drinking water available and affordable to people across the world. 45 Million people have gained access to safe drinking water from Pureit since its launch in 2005.

dws-unilever-qinyuan-in-home-filter-350pxAbout Qinyuan
Qinyuan Group Co., Ltd. is a high-tech and innovation-driven company, providing environmental products, including water purifiers, drinking water equipment and water treatment membranes.

Founded in 1998, Qinyuan invented the first water purifier for dispensing water and the first instant hot water dispenser in the world. Qinyuan is also the leader of China’s National Water Purification System Standardization Working Group.

The business model is based on the design, production and sale of devices and subsequent replacement filters. There are two R&D labs and two manufacturing plants. There are 2,500 employees.

Over the last decade, Qinyuan, as the leading company in water treatment technology in China, has obtained over one hundred patents home and abroad, as well as winning many major science and technology awards.

dws-unilever-qinyuan-pureit-350pxAbout Unilever Pureit
One of Unliver's many brands is the Pureit water purifier made by Hindustan Unilever and sold in India, Mexico, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Pureit was first launched in Chennai in 2005 and its range now consists of eight different models.

Pureit Classic removes germs without needing electricity or pressurised tap water. The cheapest Pureit filter costs 20 euro with an ongoing running cost of just one euro cent for about two litres of safe drinking water.

The Pureit water purification business is part of Unliver's Sustainable Live programme and aims at making safe drinking water available and affordable to 500 million people by 2020.

This news item was originally published on the website of Unilever.

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