Uni-President Enterprises Corp. has bought into a venture with China's largest juice maker. The Taiwanese food group hopes the venture will become the biggest juice producer in Asia.

Uni-President has agreed to pay US$30m for 5% of the venture, with Beijing Huiyuan Beverage and Food Co. owning the remaining 95%.

Speaking to Reuters today (24 March), an executive with Huiyuan's investment department said: "The alliance will enable both sides to share common advantages and promote sales around South-east Asia. We aim to become Asia's largest juice producer."

Reports earlier this week in the Financial Times, however, suggested that Uni-President was poised to buy Huiyuan out, which it valued at US$500m.

The venture would absorb Huiyuan's existing juice-making operations and assets, the executive, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. The parent company would continue to own and operate jam-making and concentrates businesses.

The executive declined to say whether the venture would float shares overseas - an ambition Huiyuan has long harboured, Reuters noted.