Court hears espionage claims by the bottling partner of the soft drinks giant US soft drinks giant PepsiCo has been accused in court of stealing commercial secrets from its local bottling partner in Sichuan. Zhou Weiping, a lawyer for Yunlu Industrial Development, told Judge Hu Gang that Zhang Wei, a sales manager for Pepsi China Investment Co, had tried to steal the mobile telephone records of its managing director, Wu Fengxian, on March 29 last year. Although Mr Zhang was detained by police at the telecom company before he could get the records, Mr Zhou said he had intended to steal commercial secrets. Yunlu is seeking an apology and token damages of 10,000 yuan (HK$9,360) from Mr Zhang and Pepsi, saying Mr Zhang acted on the instructions of Pepsi. Another of the company's lawyers, Zhang Mingshu, told Chengdu Intermediate Court that the alleged espionage took place at the height of a long-running conflict between Yunlu and Pepsi. He said Mr Wu was contacting the Chinese partners of Pepsi's other joint ventures to discuss a strategy to deal with his problem as well as potential new foreign partners. In reply, Mr Zhang's lawyer, Zeng Yexi, admitted that his client wanted records of Mr Wu's telephone calls but the motive was to satisfy his personal curiosity. 'The action was entirely an individual action,' Mr Zeng said. He argued there were no commercial secrets involved and that the telephone records were not commercial secrets. Pepsi's lawyer, Jiang Min, said Mr Zhang had been acting in a personal capacity that had nothing to do with his work duties. She argued that since Mr Wu was also managing director of the joint venture, Sichuan Pepsi Cola Beverage Co Ltd, his telephone records also belonged to Pepsi. In August, Pepsi lost its bid to get the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce to dissolve its joint venture with Yunlu. The case will now be arbitrated under Chinese laws. The US company wants out after disputes with Yunlu on how much Pepsi was able to charge for its drinks and whether the Sichuan plant could launch products independent of the Pepsi label. In the meantime, both parties are negotiating the terms and conditions of a buyout by Pepsi but the talks are dragging on over disagreement on the value of the plant. Mr Wu said that despite the dispute and the outbreak of Sars, Sichuan Pepsi had made a profit of 27 million yuan since January. 'Our profits are four times that of all the five bottling plants in Sichuan put together,' Mr Hu said. The case is being closely watched by foreign investors who sometimes have troubled relations with their local partners because of differences over profits. Judge Hu said a verdict would be handed down at a later date.