China, Cherry Coke, and the Oracle of Omaha

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola is featuring a different type of celebrity on its cans in China: Warren Buffett.

Besides being Cherry Coke's biggest fan, Buffett has been Coke's most loyal investor: His Berkshire Hathaway group has been the company's largest single shareowner, with an investment of 400 million shares. The investor will not be paid for the promotion Buffet once said that he was "one-quarter Coca-Cola", admitting that he drinks five cans of Coke a day. The flavour launched in the Chinese market on 10 March. For a brand that usually carried images of athletes or pop stars, an octogenarian billionaire might seem to be an odd choice, according to commentators. Mr. Buffett has huge fans in China due to his successful investment experience.

Chinese consumers have also grown tired of pop stars and celebrities willing to lend their name and image to any product, according to Chow.

Shelly Lin, Coca-Cola China's marketing director said in a press release that her team was surprised when Buffett agreed to the idea.

Buffett is also an admirer of the economic prowess of China. A Chinese gaming company forked over $2.35 million to lunch with the billionaire, placing the winning bid at a 2015 charity auction. More and more Chinese investors come to Omaha for Berkshire's annual meeting.

Last year, Berkshire webcast its meeting for the first time, and provided simultaneous translation only in Mandarin.

  • Wendy Palmer