Sino-US joint venture Sanhe Meile Soft Drinks Co Ltd yesterday kicked off its construction of a soft drink bottling plant and a concentrate finishing facility, which will make familiar US brands like RC Cola. Located in Sanhe, 34 kilometres east of Beijing, and covering an area of 9,400 square metres and 700 square metres respectively, the bottling plant and the concentrate finishing facility are expected to be completed in June of 2000, said Ji Jun, general manager of the joint venture. Sanhe Meile Soft Drinks Co Ltd is 80 per cent owned by the US-based Calcol Inc and 20 per cent by the China National Food Industry Corp. The co-operation, which started in 1995, will last for 30 years on a 40,000-square-metre site. The joint venture will manufacture for the Chinese market Royal Crown (RC) Cola and other Royal Crown flavours and tea products, as well as finishing concentrates licensed from other famous international soft drink companies under Sanhe's own brand name. In 1995, Calcol Inc had fully assigned its rights in agreements with RC Cola International to the joint venture, Ji said. Upon the completion of the project, Sanhe Meile is expected to have an annual production capacity of 10 million standard cases of finished bottles of soft drinks and tea products. Also the plant is expected to finish up to 139,000 units of concentrate (enough to bottle 500,000 tons of soft drinks) annually for sale to local bottlers throughout China.