The president of Coca-Cola's Asian operations has hailed the launch of the company's new C2 "mid-calorie" beverage in Japan last week as a success. Speaking yesterday at an industry conference, Mary Minnick said that the "early signs for C2 are very encouraging."

According to Minnick, sales of the drink, which contains about half the calories and half the carbohydrates of regular Coke, were seven times the average for a new product at one supermarket chain in Japan.

C2 is set to hit the US this week, with PepsiCo's equivalent, Pepsi Edge, launching now as well.

In her speech, Minnick also said that China is on track to become the company's fifth-largest market by volume this year, up from 13th ten years ago.