Swire Pacific's recent rapid-fire expansion in the Chinese beverage market will be put on hold for the next couple of years. Chairman Peter Sutch yesterday said the company would not continue its recent rate of growth in setting up Coca-Cola bottling operations in China. It is involved in five Coca-Cola bottling joint ventures there, with a further three under construction and plans for two more recently announced. That would put a cap on Swire's expansion plans in China for the short term, Mr Sutch said. 'We really want to consolidate a bit [with the Chinese Coca-Cola franchises],' Mr Sutch said after the company's annual general meeting. He said it was important that existing Coca-Cola operations in China started contributing to the group's bottom line and were brought up to full capacity before more plants were built. A number of Swire's activities in China, in areas such as paint production, aluminium can manufacture and beverages, still were in 'investment phase', he said. He hoped some would contribute to profits within two years. Mr Sutch stressed Swire's mainland credentials. China International Trust & Investment Corp (Citic) is a partner in the group's Coca-Cola bottling operations. Mr Sutch said Swire's relationship with Citic had 'always been very sound', while its links with other organisations on the mainland, including China Merchants and the China National Aviation Corp, were strengthening.