NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – Warren Buffett’s face will appear on cans of Cherry Coke in China, an attempt by Coca-Cola to capitalize on its biggest and most famous investor.
Cherry Coke, which has been available in the US since 1985, was launched in China on March 10 and Buffett’s likeness will appear on special edition cans during a promotional period and while supplies last, the company said.
Buffett has a huge following in China, where he is admired for his success as an investment guru. In China, he is often referred to as “gu shen,” or “the God of stock investing”.Last year more than 3,000 Chinese investors flocked to Omaha for the annual meeting of Buffett’s investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway.
“Warren Buffett is the financial god in China,” Linda Steele (neé Lin Chongning), a founder of the Nebraska Chinese Association in Omaha, told the Omaha World Herald. “He is being praised in China as the one who can never be beaten in the stock market. Many Chinese investors are crazy about him.”
Berkshire Hathaway owns 9.3 per cent of Coca-Cola, valued at about US$17 billion. Buffett, 86, has been a major shareholder in the beverage giant for more than a quarter-century and spent about US$1.3 billion building the stake.
He’s also a heavy user of the product: Buffett has said that he drinks about five cans of Coke per day, and he’s frequently seen sipping the beverage at public events.
Buffett, who has a net worth of about US$75 billion, has come to the defense of Coke amid concerns about the effects of sugary drinks. At his company’s annual meeting last year, he said his happiness from drinking the soda outweighs health benefits from eating more vegetables.
“I have not seen evidence that convinces me that it’ll be more likely I reach 100 if I suddenly switched to water and broccoli,” Buffett said.
With additional information from CNBC, MarketWatch