Coca-Cola in China

Coca-Cola in China

The Coca-Cola Co this week announced that it has produced its first "billion-dollar brand" from an emerging market with its Minute Maid Pulpy juice drink. Here, we take a look back at Coca-Cola's history in China.

  • Coca-Cola built its first bottling plant in China in the decade following World War I, according to China Business Review. However, China's conversion to Communism after World War II halted the progress of foreign businesses. Much later, Coca-Cola was the first US company to distribute its products in China after the country was opened to foreign investors in 1979. Today, the company has an ownership stake in 24 bottling joint-ventures. In most cases this is indirectly through two Hong Kong-based companies that it partly owns: Swire Beverages and Kerry Group.
  • In May 2004, Coca-Cola announced an investment of US$12m in a new bottling plant in Gansu, a province in the northwest of China. A year later, the firm expanded its bottling plant in Nanning for CNY113m (US$13.97m).
  • July 2007 saw the construction of an $80m Coca-Cola R&D centre and 'green' headquarters in China.
  • In March 2009, the company announced plans to invest $2bn in China over the following three years. The soft drinks giant said it plans to spread the money across new plant and distribution infrastructure, sales and marketing, and research and development.
  • In the same month, Coca-Cola's bid to buy China's Huiyuan Juice Group was turned down by the country's Ministry of Commerce. The Ministry said it had rejected the $2.4bn takeover offer on the grounds that it would have "an unfavourable impact on competition" in China.
  • In November 2009, Coca-Cola announced plans to double annual sales generated by it and its bottling system by 2020. Sales from the Coca-Cola system are expected to reach $200bn by 2020, with emerging markets such as China and India expected to provide the bulk of revenue growth.
  • In October last year, Coca-Cola opened a new bottling plant in China. The facility based in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, is one of three plants worth a combined CNY1.6bn that the firm is opening in the country. This latest is the 41st Coca-Cola bottling plant in China.
  • A second plant, situated in Sanshui, is scheduled to open this year. A third plant, situated in Luohe in Henan Province, is near to completion the firm has said, although no specific date has been given. All three facilities will produce beverages including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, and Minute Maid.