Instant noodle companies are feeling the pinch. Tingyi, which makes and sells Master Kong instant noodles, had a revenue slump in its instant noodle business from 4.3 billion U.S. dollars in 20xx to 3.2 billion U.S. dollars in 20xx. The company even had to sell its inoperative noodle and beverage factories in the city of Xi’an, northwest China, earlier this year.
Zhang Xin, associate professor with department of economics and finance at Tongji University, says the shrinking migrant population has damaged the industry as they were one of the largest groups of instant noodle consumers.
China’s migrant population decreased for the first time in about 30 years in 20xx. The economic rise of China’s interior regions is luring back migrant workers from coastal cities. Skills and capital acquired in cities also help migrant workers start their own businesses in their home town.
The explosive growth of China’s high-speed railway networks turns out to be unexpected enemy of the instant noodles industry.
I ate instant noodles for breakfast, lunch and as a midnight snack during my 20-hour train trips in the past, says Tang Mingsheng, who works in the eastern Chinese city of Fuzhou.
But since 20xx, Tang’s journey home at Spring Festivals is on a high-speed train that takes just six hours. There is no need for midnight instant-noodle snacking.
Trains were once an important market for instant noodles, but railway stations are ordering less and less instant noodles these days, says Long Shuhai, an instant noodle distributor in Yunnan Province.
Instead, trains sell expensive Haagen-Dazs ice cream, imported fruits and lunch boxes, as the instant noodle market continues to dwindle.