The Coca-Cola Co. is set to invest US$80m in a new R&D centre and 'green' headquarters in China.

The R&D centre, the firm's sixth 'Global Innovation and Technology Center', will be five times the size of its current facility in Shanghai and focus on developing products for the Asian market, the group revealed yesterday (16 July).

"The investment…signifies our commitment to Asia and China, which is the future growth engine of the company's business, "said Doug Jackson, president of Coca-Cola China. 

"The enhanced R&D and innovation capabilities will allow us to get better innovation to the market faster, capitalising on the huge growth opportunities in China."

The group will also build a new environmentally friendly headquarters - using solar panels and wind turbines - on the same site in Shanghai. Both are scheduled to be completed in late 2008.

China is Coca-Cola's fourth-largest market in terms of volume. It already has 29 bottling plants in the country and broke ground on its 30th facility today, in Shanxi Province.