e Coca-Cola Co. is stepping up its bottling operation in China to compete with PepsiCo, the local press reported.

The company announced yesterday that it plans to open six new bottling plants in the country. Two of the six plants have already been set up and are undergoing trial operations.

The two plants, one in the north-east the other in the centre of China are in preliminary operations, according to a spokesman from Coca-Cola China. The sites for the remaining four factories are currently being selected. Once the six plants are completed, it will take the total of bottling plants Coca-Cola owns in China to 34.

One of the areas Coca-Cola is considering is the south-western municipality of Chongqing, an area where PepsiCo Inc has a 70-80% market share. PepsiCo also plans to set up a factory in the city.

Total investment for the six plants is $150m, according to the spokesman.