Food manufacturer and distributor Four Seas Mercantile Holdings expects China to overtake Hong Kong as its main market in two years, according to chairman Stephen Tai Tak-fung. He said the completion of an industrial park in Shantou, Guangdong, was expected to boost its revenue. Mr Tai said the Japanese joint-venture, consisting of seven food-manufacturing plants, would enhance its distribution network, generating greater revenue as a result. 'In our experience, once a plant is opened within the market, the revenue soars,' he said. Mr Tai said the China market contributed 30 per cent to the company's sales revenue, while the Hong Kong market accounted for 70 per cent. He expected China's contribution to rise to 50 per cent next year and to increase further due to an improved distribution network. Four plants in the Shantou industrial park were expected to be in operation before July, with another three plants to be completed next year. The group has eight plants operating in China. Mr Tai said the group was pouring $90 million from its internal resources into the $300 million project, of which it has a 30 per cent stake. 'We expect to see an operating profit in the second year of its operation,' he said. More than 80 per cent of Four Seas food and beverage products originate from Japan, with the other 20 per cent coming from other overseas sources are manufactured by the company. Sales of wine products, which Four Seas began distributing more than a year ago, were growing rapidly in China, Mr Tai said. He expected to see wine sales contributing 7 per cent of the group's turnover next year. The company has just reached an agreement with Australian food manufacturer Sanitarium Health Food Co to distribute its products throughout China and Hong Kong. The first two products - cereal and fruit bars - are expected to generate $8 million in revenue this year. Four Seas also will continue with its plan to increase the number of its Pokka Cafe franchises by three each year. There are nine in China, Hong Kong and Macau.