A US company, KHM, is to collaborate with the Vietnam Tea Association (Vitas) in a major development which will see the construction of seven tea processing plants in the Son La and Lai Chau provinces. The joint venture is also planning to develop retail stores in Vietnam. Some US$30mn of investment has already been pledged for the project. Vietnam exported in excess of 58,000 tons of tea with a value of US$66m in 2001 and the country has already set up similar joint ventures with companies in Malaysia, Iraq and Belgium.