PepsiCo has set up a research and development centre in China, according to local reports.

Xinhua News Agency said yesterday (28 March) that the soft drinks giant had established the centre to focus on drinks and leisure food catering specifically to Chinese tastes. At the same time, the news agency added, Pepsi had built a laboratory in Shanghai to mix, analyse and improve food.

Citing a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the report noted that the Shanghai R&D centre is the company's first such facility outside the US.

Earlier this month, Chinese media reports claimed that Pepsi's Mirinda brand contained excessive levels of benzene, a claim that the company strenuously denied.