Shares sought as compensation in a quarrel over the ownership of Shanghai Yikang Mineral Water Pepsi-Cola has found itself embroiled in a second dispute at one of its joint ventures in China. On Wednesday, the Shanghai High Court held a 13-hour hearing concerning a long-running battle between Shanghai Pepsi-Cola general manager Chen Qiufang and Shanghai Minhang United Development. Shanghai Minhang holds a 46 per cent stake in Shanghai Pepsi. Ms Chen, her sister and brother-in-law are the plaintiffs in the case, claiming a total of 223 million yuan (HK$208 million) in compensation in the form Shanghai Minhang's shares in Pepsi's Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuhan joint ventures. The case dates back to April 2001, when the three plaintiffs filed a suit in the same court, asking for 129 million yuan in compensation for what they said was their share of the business - an amount they increased to 223 million in November that year. Last April, the court found in favour of Shanghai Minhang but the three appealed to the Supreme Court, which on July 11, last year threw out the original verdict and ordered the Shanghai High Court to hear the case again. The case resembles, in some respects, the dispute between China Brilliance founder Yang Rong and the Liaoning provincial government over the ownership of the Shenyang-based vehicle company. Mr Yang has maintained that, as the original investor, he is entitled to a large share of the assets, while the province argues that he was only managing state assets. Ms Chen and her fellow plaintiffs maintain that in 1985 they provided 32,500 yuan in cash and five machines worth 140,000 yuan to a company named Shanghai Yikang Mineral Water, a collective unit under the People's Liberation Army's navy. They say that they were the original investors of this firm. The ownership of Yikang changed three times before it ended up under the control of Shanghai Minhang. At the heart of the dispute is whether Yikang was a 'collective' - meaning that it had individual investors - or a 'state firm' belonging to the government. If it was the latter, then it could be transferred without taking into account the financial interests of the three plaintiffs. In a statement yesterday, Pepsi-Cola (China) Investment said it was paying close attention to the lawsuit. Ms Chen and Shanghai Minhang declined to comment. If Ms Chen and her two partners win the case, they will become the second-biggest shareholder in the Shanghai joint venture and will also acquire 38 per cent of Pepsi's Nanjing joint venture and 19 per cent of its operation. The case follows a dispute between Pepsi and its partner in a joint venture in Sichuan. In August, a commercial arbitration court in Stockholm refused to accept the case, which has been transferred to the China International Economic Trade Arbitration Commission in Beijing.