MINERAL water giant Wahaha Group is preparing to launch the latest challenge to Coca-Cola's grip on the mainland - Future Cola. In an aggressive advertising campaign which kicked off during the soccer World Cup on prime time television and on billboards throughout Beijing, Wahaha touted its new product as the Chinese people's cola - made for the mainland by a mainland company. Future Cola's packaging is similar to Coca-Cola's, but its main advantage is that it is 50 fen (cents) cheaper. Wahaha secured a reputation by cornering 30 per cent of the mainland mineral water market and 60 per cent of its distilled water market. Its claim that Future Cola is an 'ethnic Chinese cola' has attracted criticism, as 51 per cent of the company is owned by French food giant Danone. Enterprise Weekly said the claim was merely propaganda. Even so, Coca-Cola does not seem too worried. 'This is very usual for us,' said a Coca-Cola spokesman in Beijing. 'The packaging they use is not all that similar, and people will still recognise our name and taste even if there are imitations.' Another Coca-Cola executive said imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. And imitators are not new to the US cola company. Great Wall Cola, another Chinese brand, is also packaged in red and white, with lettering in the same style as Coca-Cola. It costs about half as much and the taste is sweeter and clearly different. Some consumers of Great Wall Cola consider its cheaper price more important than its Chinese origins. 'Of course people will buy this,' one local purchaser of Great Wall Cola said. 'It's so much cheaper than Coca-Cola.' However, another customer said: 'It doesn't taste as good, I'm sticking to Coca-Cola.' Coca-Cola, with 21 factories throughout the mainland, is confident it can withstand these challenges.