BEIJING, May 10 – The Coca-Cola Company announced here on Thursday that it will continue to increase investment levels in China.
Ahmet Bozer, president of Coca-Cola International, said during an interview that he expects the business to continue to grow for many years to come.
Bozer said $4 billion of investment will be added by 2014 in China explained that the investment is mixed with marketing assets like plants, transportation and retail outlets.
According to the Coca-Cola chief, the company will open a new plant in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China’s Hebei Province, in October.
It is also working to develop the markets in China’s second- and third- tier cities and its western areas.
Those cities may be at a different economic stage of development, Bozer said, but they are expected to have great potential.
As told by Bozer, Coca-Cola has been developing local partners and distribution systems to make the brand locally relevant.
According to Bai Changbo, vice president of public affairs and communications for Coca-Cola Greater China, Chinese people now drink an average of 39 bottle of Coke per year, which is still much fewer than the 400 bottles consumed in the United States.
“Thus, our products have broad growth space in China,” Bai said.
With that growth, Coca-Cola has to keep investing to satisfy the demand, Bai acknowledged.
“We want to make China our largest beverage market soon,” added Bozer.
The first shipment of Coca-Cola cans was shipped to China in 1978, so this year marks the brand’s 35th year in the country.
“Our business in China is a mirror of the progress of its opening-up policy,” said David Brooks, president of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea.
Coca-Cola used to make the argument to the Chinese government that foreign tourists had to have Coke if the country wanted them to come in, disclosed Brooks.
The Chinese government approved Coca-Cola’s operation in the country in 1979.
Now, the beverage giant has established 42 plants all over China, with a total investment of $5 billion, and 50,000 Chinese local employees.