A shopper passes a Coca-Cola stand at a Shanghai supermarket. The world's largest beverage maker yesterday said it would pour $80 million to set up a new research center and a new headquarters in China. [newsphoto]
Coca-Cola, the world's largest beverage maker, yesterday said it would pour $80 million to set up a new research center and a new headquarters in China, one of its fastest-growing markets.
The Global Innovation and Technology Center, Coca-Cola's sixth such facility worldwide, "underscores our commitment to Asia and China, which is the future growth engine of our business", said Doug Jackson, president of Coca-Cola China.
The center, which will be located in Zizu Industrial Park in Shanghai's suburbs, will mainly develop products for Asian markets, Jackson said.
The center, scheduled to be completed in late 2008, will have over 200 staff members.
"The enhanced research and development and innovation capabilities will allow us to capitalize on the huge growth opportunities in China," said Jackson, who assumed the current post in April.
China is Coca-Cola's fourth-largest market in terms of revenue, according to Jackson. China, he said, is expected to overtake Brazil to become its third-largest in two years. "And it would outpace Mexico to become the second-largest within five years."
China is a country with the potential to become its biggest market in "a couple of years" after it beats Mexico, Jackson said. "It's just a matter of time."
The beverage giant, he said, will continue to invest and increase capacities in China to meet the soaring demand. Coca-Cola already has 29 bottling facilities in the country. "We're going to add at least two more within one year."
The new facilities, Jackson said, will be located in "areas that are not well represented" at present.
Coca-Cola, he said, plans to spend big on infrastructure in China to drive up its sales. The "significant investment in infrastructure" will go to expand the sales force and add more vending machines, Jackson said.