An executive who resisted dismissal has gone to court to gain control of mainland partner Pepsi-Cola has been trying to fire the general manager of its Shanghai joint venture for 19 months and wants her to lose a lawsuit that would make her the second-biggest shareholder in the venture, according to industry sources. The Shanghai High Court held a 13-hour hearing last week on the lawsuit filed by Chen Qiufeng, her sister and brother-in-law against the Shanghai Minhang United Development Company, the biggest Chinese shareholder in Shanghai Pepsi-Cola, of which the United States firm holds 50 per cent. The three are demanding 223 million yuan (HK$209.1 million) worth of shares in the Shanghai joint venture and two other companies it owns, Pepsi's joint ventures in Nanjing and Wuhan, which they say that they are entitled to as original investors in the company that became Pepsi's partner in Shanghai. The sources said Pepsi and Ms Chen, who has been general manager of the Shanghai venture for 10 years, had been at loggerheads since 1999 when Pepsi decided, with the approval of the central government, to raise the price of its concentrate. However, Ms Chen refused, unwilling to reduce the profit margin of the Chinese side. In March last year, Pepsi wrote to Ms Chen that she was no longer employed by them. She refused to accept the dismissal and appealed to a labour arbitration committee, which in July that year found in her favour. Pepsi appealed against the decision to the Shanghai Jing An District Court, which also ruled that the dismissal notice was unreasonable. It appealed to the Shanghai No2 Intermediate Court, which in August this year upheld the ruling of the district court. The sources said Ms Chen had been able to keep her job because she had the support of the Chinese shareholders on the board, giving her 50 per cent of the votes. Pepsi-Cola declined to comment. A spokesman for Ms Chen said she would make no comment until the conclusion of the lawsuit. Li Peiquan, a former adviser to Pepsi, said the company's former managers had handled disputes well with the Chinese partners. 'But things have changed in recent years, with a new management, and relations with some of the plants have deteriorated,' he said. Ms Chen, a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, this year accused foreign-backed firms of tax evasion and fraudulent accounting.