Coca-Cola continues strong investment in China
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, Mr. Muhtar Kent, announced in Inner Mongolia last week the opening and near completion of three new bottling plants in China worth a combined 1.6 billion RMB (USD 240 million), continuing its rapid expansion in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing beverage markets.The new investments are a part of Coca-Cola’s 3-year USD 2 billion accelerated investment in China and the latest phase of Coca-Cola’s long-term commitment to its business in China. The investment is also aligned with the government’s call to develop the central and western areas of the country. The plants in Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, Luohe in Henan Province and Sanshui in Guangdong Province will locally produce beverages such as Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, and Minute Maid to quench the thirst of consumers in those regions
The bottling plant in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, which is opened today, is the 41st Coca-Cola a bottling plant in China. Yesterday, Mr Kent visited Luohe to inaugurate the new bottling plant in that city. It will be the largest Coca-Cola production facility in China and will begin production in November 2010.
The plant has been constructed to the Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) standard, showcasing many energy and water conservation features. The Sanshui plant is also scheduled to commence production by the end of 2010. These new facilities will augment Coca-Cola’s strategic footprint in China, with the Luohe investment alone worth 900 million RMB. The three plants together will directly create 2,000 additional new jobs in the local communities and approximately 20,000 additional indirect employment opportunities in the supporting industries. By the end of the year this marks 6 plants inaugurated over the last 2 years.
“This 1.6 billion RMB commitment to Inner Mongolia, Henan and Guangdong Province is more than an investment in Coca-Cola’s expansion to capitalize on the fast growing China market. It is also an important step by Coca-Cola to assist in the development of local communities throughout China, including in the less developed areas,” said Mr. Muhtar Kent at the opening ceremony for the Hohhot plant. The ceremony was attended by Mr. Bater, the Chairman of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Mr. Frank Ning, Chairman of COFCO Group, and senior officials of Inner Mongolia and The Coca-Cola Company. “Our business has experienced strong growth year on year in China, which is now our third largest market. More importantly, the new plants in Inner Mongolia, Henan and Guangdong, will extend our competitive edge in China and allow Coca-Cola to support local community development by providing jobs, generating tax revenue and boosting further investment in the local economy by Coca-Cola suppliers,” said Mr. Kent.
In addition to the new world-class bottling facilities in China, Coca-Cola is also a global partner of the World EXPO in Shanghai. The Company has already served more than 70 million servings to EXPO visitors and working staff, and has greeted more than one million visitors to the “Coca-Cola Happiness Factory” pavilion in the EXPO Park.
Mr. Muhtar Kent who is Chairman of the US China Business Council and will lead board members on an official trip to Beijing over the coming days to meet with senior government leaders. The delegation will exchange ideas with various officials to help promote and improve commercial relations between China and US corporations.
Coca-Cola and its bottlers have always been active corporate citizens in China, promoting sustainable environmental projects and development of local communities through education and cooperative public-private endeavors. Over the past several years, Coca-Cola has actively contributed to the development of the local communities in China by contributing over 200 million RMB for disaster relief efforts and sponsoring Project Hope, a program that aims to improve education for disadvantaged children throughout China. By 2011, Coca-Cola would have built 100 Project Hope Schools across China. Working hand in hand with the World Wildlife Fund, Coca-Cola has also launched a project in 2007 to conserve the Yangtze River basin, the lifeblood of China that provides water to more than 400 million people. The partnership with WWF made significant progress toward the protection of this valuable natural resource by galvanizing local communities to actively participate in river basin conservation.