Greatview: Challenger of Tetra Pak (A)


Hong Gang and Bi Hua, ex-employees of the packaging giant, Tetra Pak, decided to set up their own company to make packaging for China’s booming dairy industry. The challenges were immense: Tetra Pak was the largest liquid-food packaging specialist in the world and had many years experience in the industry. However, Hong and Bi realised there was a demand for an alternative supplier.

‘When Tetra Pak raised its price, all it needed to do was inform its clients via fax. The customer had absolutely no bargaining power,’ said Hong, who referred to himself and his partner as ‘middle-aged entrepreneurs’. He believed they had done better feasibility research and were more prepared than younger entrepreneurs who tend to correct their mistakes along the way. This case, written by Gary Liu and Anna Wang, CEIBS, China, explores Hong and Bi’s creation of Tetra Pak’s rival, Greatview. Here, Gary shares his experience of writing this case – and discusses if age and experience really are an advantage for entrepreneurs.

Successful challenger

This is an amazing story about a new company that was set up to challenge a global leader. We chose to write about this company because it is a successful challenger, and also because the story can be used to explore both this particular business, and generic lessons that are applicable in a number of situations.

Making contact

We met the founder of Greatview by chance and were deeply impressed by his story. When dealing with entrepreneurial stories, it is very helpful for students to get some real sense of the founders’ background and history.

Greatview:Challenger of Tetra PakHong says that his age was an advantage, and I do agree that when it comes to taking on mature industries, experience is important. However, when creating very innovative business models, such as internet start-ups, experience may have less to contribute than, for example, original thinking.

Multiple interviews

This is a special industry and it took some time to gain an in-depth understanding of how it works. We also found it very challenging to write a clear description of Greatview’s competitive strategy. We did multiple rounds of interviews to gain a better understanding of their approach.

A three-case series

We created a series of three cases to reflect the different stages in Greatview’s growth. At each stage, different challenges had to be overcome and important strategic choices made. Case A enables students to analyse what’s involved in challenging a dominant company. It details the survival phase of the start-up.

Case B tracks the six years following the creation of Greatview and how it managed to raise its market share in China to 9.6% while Tetra Pak’s market share dropped from 95% to 70.2%. Case C goes on to examine the company’s overseas expansion.

Engaging students

Role play is a good way to engage students and create interest and involvement. Students could step into the shoes of either Greatview or Tetra Pak to decide on strategy and how they would react to challenges as they develop.

This case series could be used on strategy and entrepreneurship courses and fits well into MBA and EMBA courses on these topics. It’s also suitable for courses that explore doing business in China.

Greatview:Challenger of Tetra Pak

Supporting material

Students will find some excellent background reading in China CEO: A Case Guide to Business Leaders in China by Juan Antonio Fernandez and Liu Shengjun.

Case details

Greatview: Challenger of Tetra Pak (A)
Ref 312-006-1
Greatview: Challenger of Tetra Pak (B)

Ref 312-007-1
Greatview: Challenger of Tetra Pak (C)

Ref 312-008-1
Gary Liu and Anna Wang
CEIBS (China Europe International Business School)

About the authors

Gary Liu is Executive Deputy Director of CEIBS Lujiazui Institute of International Finance Centre

Anna Wang is Manager of International Communications, Baidu. Inc, Beijing

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