One third of all ice cream bought globally is consumed in China, which became the largest ice cream market in the world in 2014, beating the US by a lick with $11.4bn in sales compared with $11.2bn.
Ice cream sales in the US are on track to catch up to $11.4bn this year, by which point China will have reached $12.6bn as its growing middle class enjoys higher disposable incomes.
However, Americans retained their crown as the most gluttonous ice cream consumers in the world, consuming 18.4 litres of the dairy dessert per capita in a year – more than four times more than the average Chinese person's annual intake.
Alex Beckett, food analyst at Mintel, said that rising incomes are driving the growth in China's ice cream market, helped by the country's increasingly developed retail infrastructure and facilities for storing and suppling "cool cargo".
Just two non-Chinese companies make the list of the country's 10 most popular ice cream brands. Unilever, which owns Wall's and Ben & Jerry's, is the fourth biggest company in China with around 3pc of the market, while Nestle holds 1pc.
中国人气最高的10大冰淇淋品牌中，国外品牌只有2家：联合利华和雀巢。旗下拥有Wall’s及Ben & Jerry’s的联合利华以3%的市场份额排名第四，而雀巢仅占1%。
Globally, the ice cream market surpassed sales of $50bn for the first time in 2014, up from $48bn the previous year. British consumers spent £1.1bn on 345m litres of ice cream last year, about 1pc less than in 2013, which means the average person spent £17.25 on five litres of the frozen treat.
Ice cream consumption in developed markets is melting under the heat of diet-conscious consumers, competition from frozen yogurt. These challenges give ice cream giants all the more reason to extend their presence – and new product development investment-in more emerging economies, particularly in Asia.