US soft drinks giant PepsiCo has said it is targeting growth in China following recent Government approval to build of 14 new beverage plants by the Chinese government.

Speaking at a two day investor seminar last week (23 March), Ken Newell, president of PepsiCo China Beverages said that the firm is “extremely confident” of accelerated growth in China – a country he says has “positive economic growth projections” supported by a 1.3bn population.

“The growth is driven by the recent approval of 14 new beverage plants by the Chinese government,” Newell said.

“This will help us to substantially close that infrastructure gap that exists today. On the back of our new manufacturing centres, we're also investing in people by doubling the size of our work force by the year 2015.”

Only last month CEO Indra Nooyi said the firm was planning to begin “rapidly” expanding its footprint in China.

The country is a central plank in PepsiCo's plan to expand sales in emerging markets in general.

The soft drinks giant is also keen to grow its presence in the Middle East, following a joint venture deal with regional juice and dairy producer Almarai, signed last year.

Tarek Kabil, president of Middle East and Africa for PepsiCo, told analysts last week: “Going forward our strategy is built on four growth drivers; building CSD per caps, expanding into adjacent leverage categories, enhance our Power of One and expand our margin.

"Local caps represent an attractive headroom for growth. We can almost triple our business even if we bench ourselves to Mexico, which is a large double-income country,” Kabil said.

He added that the firm’s non-carbonated beverage categories are growing at an “attractive pace” in the Middle East.

“We have a portfolio brand that can succeed in any of the categories. We still have a massive opportunity to further leverage the Power of One and supporting giant go-to-market opportunities, join in the store presence and integrate the newly acquired juice and dairy business with Almarai JV,” said Kabil.

“We have a very strong leverage business with huge headroom for growth. We have a strong leadership position. We have a brand with a lovemark and we have a world-class go-to-market system. This is putting us at a great competitive advantage to continue enhancing our leadership, expand the market and expand into the liquid refreshment beverage categories,” he added.

This article has been corrected after comments from Tarek Kabil were mistakenly attributed to Ken Newell. This article now contains the correct attributions.