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Coca-Cola shoots for sales
( 2003-07-09 07:51) (China Daily)

The world's top beverage giant still has an upbeat expectation about sales in China this year, despite its operation being dented by SARS in April and May.

John Cheung, vice-president and marketing director of Coca-Cola Beverage Ltd (China), said the group is standing by its double-digit growth outlook for local sales this year.

"Although the complete statistics have not come out, we noted some slowdowns in April and May, the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) peak time. But sales in June have revived quickly,'' Cheung said.

Carbonated beverages were harder hit than fruit juices, which contain vitamin C and were popular during the outbreak.

Cheung said: "We are optimistic about a double-digit growth rate as the economy resumes its prosperity in China very quickly.''

He said Coca-Cola will go all out to promote sales during the remainder of 2003.

The world famous Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi debuted Tuesday as the latest spokeswoman for Coca-Cola, heralding a new campaign for the company.

A series of forthcoming sponsorship events including the NBA jam tour and women's soccer star match before the Women's World Cup will be held in China this year.

Cheung also revealed that a new juice carbonated drink will go on sale in several cities.

The new beverage, which is already available in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan Province, was scheduled to be rolled out in more cities but was delayed because of the SARS crisis.

It will become available in nine more cities this year including Beijing, Tianjin and Nanjing.

Coca-Cola, the world's largest drinks company, said earlier it expects China to become its No 1 market in the next 10 years.

China is presently its sixth largest market and is set to jump to No 5 this year.

Coca-Cola's world rival, PepsiCo, has also said it will increase its investment in China.

PepsiCo Investment (China) Ltd said it will spend US$30 million to set up a non-carbonated beverages production facility in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province.

It will be the soft drink company's first non-carbonated production base in China and upon completion, it is expected to be the largest of its kind in Asia.

According to PepsiCo, the production base will cover more than 140,000 square metres and have five production lines, producing juices and other non-carbonated beverages.

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