US soft drinks giant PepsiCo has unveiled an investment package that will see it spend US$1bn in the Chinese market over the next four years.

The company said today (3 November) that the investment is part of its ongoing strategy to expand in emerging markets and expand its portfolio of 'local' products.

"This is our largest investment in China in the nearly 30 years we have been doing business here, and it is consistent with our broader global strategy of investing in high-growth developing markets," PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi said during a four-day trip to the country.

China was a main growth driver for PepsiCo's soft drinks division in the third quarter of this year, as international sales provided sanctuary from a tough North American market. 

During her China visit, Nooyi has visited PepsiCo's local businesses as well as meeting with government officials and local business executives.

The investment plan will finance a variety of capital programmes to expand manufacturing capacity, particularly in the interior and western regions. PepsiCo will also expand local research and development facilities to develop products tailored to the Chinese market, increase the company's sales force with an eye to expanding distribution in the market and fund brand-building initiatives.

"We are enormously confident in the continued prosperity of China," Nooyi said. "We look forward to building an even brighter future here."

Pepsi added that it was also investing in promoting environmental sustainability and community programmes.

PepsiCo currently sells Pepsi, Tropicana and Gatorade drinks in the Chinese market.

Its investment announcement comes two months after arch-rival Coca-Cola said it had bid US$2.4bn for China's largest juice company, Huiyuan Juice Group.