Chinese dairy giant Yili has launched a multi-billion dollar industrial park in Hohhot, China.
According to global branding company, Brand Finance, Yili posted an 11% increase in brand value this year to US$9.6 billion and pulling even further ahead of previous sector leader Danone (up 5% to US$8.2 billion) in second place.
Yili also claims second spot behind Nestlé in the Brand Finance Food 100 2021 ranking.
The Brand Finance Food & Drink 2021 Report says Yili has boasted strong sales growth, up 13% year-on-year, and the long-term forecast for the brand looks positive.
"The dairy giant has once again been striving towards new products and optimisation, bolstered by innovation and long-standing R&D investment.
"This paired with further expansion into new territories across Asia and overseas, has supported the brand's strong growth."
Yili owns two milk processing plants in New Zealand - the Oceania Dairy plant in South Canterbury was set up in 2013 and two years ago it bought Westland Milk in Hokitika from farmer shareholders.
Yili's product range in NZ includes butter, milk powders, ingredients and milk.
The Brand Finance Food & Drink 2021 report also includes the Dairy Portfolio ranking - which splits the brand value related to dairy brands from the wider food portfolios - as dairy brands represent a large proportion of the food portfolios' brand value and often are responsible for movement within the overall ranking.
Yili has the fourth most valuable dairy portfolio, with a total brand value of US$9.6 billion, an impressive performance given that Asian dairy brands have traditionally been outperformed by their international counterparts. Lactalis has overtaken last year's leader, Nestlé, with a combined brand value of US$11.4 billion.