Arla Foods is integrating its dairy business operations in China and South East Asia within a new regional market concept called Business Unit Asia.

The regional office will be placed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as of March 1, 2015.

The international dairy company is confirming that Asia is vital to its ambitions for growth. The region is the world’s fastest growing economic region with a raw milk deficit and a total population of 2.3 billion people.

China is a strategic growth market for Arla, while South East Asia (SEA) has been identified as a region, which could potentially become a new strategic growth market. The expectation is that revenue for the region will exceed €1 billion within the next five years.

“We have developed our market in China in close cooperation with our partner Mengniu, ,” said Finn Hansen, head of Arla Foods’ business group, Consumer International.

“We have gained important experience and insight, which will be levers to accelerate our expansion in Asia. We have strengthened our presence in several SEA countries and it’s time to move the senior management and main leadership functions to the region.”

The new Business Unit Asia management will be based in a regional office in Kuala Lumpur and will be setting the strategy for all retail and food service activities in Asia.

The unit will cover the Chinese retail sales through the partnership with Mengniu Dairy China as well as the SEA market. During 2014, Arla established or strengthened the country management teams in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Philippines. These groupings, as well as the management in Japan and South Korea plus distributor sales in SEA will all report to the new regional office.

Jesper Colding has been appointed to head up Arla’s new Business Unit Asia. He is the current Vice President for Marketing of Mengniu Dairy China.