Consumer goods giant Unilever posted a 37 percent jump in 2005 earnings and a 3.1 percent growth in sales, the company said in its fourth quarter and full year report.
In the fourth quarter, Unilever had a sales growth of 10 percent in the Asia Africa region, and a strong sales increase of more than 20 percent in China.
The company said the growth in the region was underpinned by a range of innovations including Pond's new "mud" products and releases under the Lux Super Rich brand in the Chinese market.
The French cosmetics maker said its sales in China, including Hong Kong, rose 15.7 percent to 426 million euros (US$507 million) in 2005.
China has, for the first time, surpassed Japan to become L'Oreal's largest market in Asia, the company said.
Its sales in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong were 343 million euros (US$408 million) and 83 million euros (US$98 million) respectively last year, boosted by the strong performance of its Maybelline mascara and its male skin care line.
The company expects its China sales will maintain double-digit growth this year despite increasingly fierce competition in the market.
German auto maker Audi AG reported a revenue of 26.6 billion euros (US$32 billion) in 2005, up 8.5 percent year-on-year.
The Audi brand set a new record for vehicle sales last year for the tenth year in succession - 829,109 vehicles were delivered to customers worldwide, the company said in its annual report.
China is the company fourth-largest market, following Germany, the US and Britain.
It sold 58,878 vehicles to Chinese consumers last year, 9.6 percent higher compared with the previous year.
The world's leading tire maker reported its net profit surged by 36 percent in 2005 despite sharply rising raw material costs and lower volume sales.
The French company's global revenue increased by 3.6 percent to 15.59 billion euros (US$18.6 billion) last year.
Its business in Asia grew by 5 percent, compared with 1.6 percent growth in Europe and 2.3 percent growth in North America.
Growth in Asia was mainly attributed by a rapid development in China, which grew by 17 percent last year.
The delivery service provider UPS said its export volume from China in 2005 increased more than 50 percent compared to the previous year.
On December 2004, UPS signed a deal with its partner Sinotrans to take direct control of its international express operations in China. By the end of September 2005, UPS has established wholly owned operation centres in 23 locations, which could cover over 200 cities in the country.
The company attributed the fast growth in 2005 to direct operations as well as its efforts on improving customer services.
UPS will continue its investment in China, expanding package delivery and supply chain operations, said UPS president David Abney.
The Wm Wrigley Jr Company, a leading chewing gum and confectionery maker, registered a record of more than US$4 billion in global sales last year. Sales increased by 16 percent for the full year due to solid performance of the company's core gum and confectionery business around the world, along with the acquisition of various confectionery brands from Kraft that closed as of June 26, 2005, the company said.
The company had a sales growth of 26 percent last year. This was mainly due to double-digit volume growth across most of the region including China, it said.
(China Daily March 2, 2006)