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Wed 21 Aug 2002 04:00 AM

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Zamzam Cola hits Saudi market to rival US giants

Iranian soft drink Zamzam Cola is making its way into Arab markets, promoting itself as an alternative and substitute for widely popular American brands like Pepsi and Coca Cola.

Iranian soft drink Zamzam Cola is making its way into Arab markets, promoting itself as an alternative and substitute for widely popular American brands like Pepsi and Coca Cola. After entering the Bahraini market, Zamzam Cola, which is named after the holy water in Mecca, is now being sold in the Saudi market. "We started marketing the soft drink in the eastern province last week. We plan to extend distribution to other areas within a month's time," Hussein Baqshi, general manager of Al-Majarah Soft Drinks Co., told AFP.Since the Israeli offensive of March 29, a pan-Arab grassroots campaign to boycott American products has gathered momentum across a wide demographic and economic spectrum negatively affecting fast food chains and beverage companies. Many companies have gone to pains to prove that they are 100% Arab owned.Al-Majarah is one of several Saudi companies who were contenders to the exclusive rights of distribution for Zamzam Cola. Two shipments of the cola have already arrived from Iran at King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam, and the company plans more imports due to "highly encouraging sales," Baqshi told AFP. The company is said to have distributed about four million one-liter bottles but high demand has forced it to place import orders for several million more bottles, according to AFP. Preparations are under way to establish a bottling factory in Bahrain, and Al-Majarah has already requested the Iranian parent company for a license to set up a similar factory in Saudi Arabia. Zamzam is also available in Sharjah, in the UAE.

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