Coke to invest $4b in China

Updated: 2011-08-19 10:22

By Liu Jie (China Daily)

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Coke to invest $4b in China
Coca-Cola Co's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent during an interview in Shanghai on Thursday. The company's sales in China topped 1 billion units in the first half.[Photo/China Daily]

The US drinks maker may list on Shanghai's international board

SHANGHAI - Coca-Cola Co, the world's largest maker of beverages by sales, announced on Thursday that it will join with its bottling partners to invest $4 billion in China between 2012 and 2014.

The US-based company's Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent also said that Coca-Cola is interested in a possible listing on the proposed international board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Kent said that the new investment will focus on innovation, infrastructure and expansion of production capacity, partnerships, brand-building and sustainable development programs.

The new commitment follows Coca-Cola's three-year $2 billion-plus investment plan, which was announced in 2009. The plan is now "ahead of schedule, $1 billion ahead", according to Kent.

The Atlanta-based beverage maker and its China bottling partners, Swire Beverage Ltd and COFCO Coca-Cola Beverages Co Ltd will invest more in China over the coming three years than they did in the entire period between 1979 and 2009, when the company's investment totaled $2 billion.

Coca-Cola opened five plants in China in 2009 and 2010. The facilities are situated in the Xinjiang Uygur and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions, and the provinces of Jiangxi, Hubei and Henan.

This year, it has already opened a new plant in Sanshui, Guangdong province. The company will launch another in Yingkou, Liaoning province, and break ground on a third facility in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province.

The company's business in China has, directly and indirectly, created about 500,000 jobs in the country. "The plants that we have inaugurated in recent years in China are doing very well, flourishing and are hiring more people than we originally estimated," said Kent.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange is set to launch an international board that will allow foreign companies to list on the Chinese mainland. "We have been in discussions with Chinese authorities, and I believe that when the time is right, when the regulatory framework is clearer, and the opportunity arrives, Coca-Cola will be interested in being a part of it," said Kent.

HSBC Holdings Plc, Unilever Plc and Standard Chartered Plc have also expressed an interest in listing on the board.

"I think it will be good for Chinese investors to be able to invest in global companies and companies like my own, which has a global reach, the best-known trademark in the world, and is the best-known brand in the world. It will be of mutual benefit," he added.

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