Coke to build US$26m Qingdao plant
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COCA-COLA is returning to one of its earliest markets in China - the famous northern beer city of Qingdao - to build a US$26 million bottling facility.
A letter of intent has been signed by Kerry Beverages, a subsidiary of Robert Kuok Hock Nien's Kerry Group, and Qingdao Yiqing Industrial Corp, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co. Kerry Beverages will hold 90 per cent of the venture.
The Qingdao plant is one of 10 Coke bottling factories planned for China over the next five years, bringing the total to 23.
Douglas Daft, Coca-Cola senior vice president, said: ''As one of our first markets in China, Qingdao holds a special place in the history of Coca-Cola.'' Coca-Cola was first produced in Qingdao in 1931 and became one of China's biggest suppliers of Coke in the 1940s.
The factory, to be built in Hightech Industrial Park, is scheduled for completion in 1995.
Kuok Khoon Chen, chairman of Kerry Beverages, said: ''Qingdao's prosperous business centre and popular tourist areas make it an ideal soft drink market.
''This project is a further indication of our firm commitment to the development of China's growing soft drink market.'' Coca-Cola has already invested $100 million in China.