The China Mengniu Dairy brand is so famous, or infamous, that hardly anyone in the country has not heard of it.
The company started out as a private enterprise headquartered in the Inner Mongolia city of Hohhot. Offerings ran from milk to probiotic drinks to ice cream. Mengniu went public in Hong Kong in June 2004, becoming the first dairy products maker to join the Hang Seng Index. Mengniu grew into one of China’s leading dairy companies, in the league of Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group and Bright Dairy & Food.
But powdered milk from competitor Sanlu Group was found in 2008 to have been contaminated with melamine — a scandal in which babies died. The discovery of the chemical in Mengniu products depressed earnings.