Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, inaugurated Thursday the opening of Coca-Cola China’s 42nd bottling plant located in Yingkou, Liaoning, the largest Coca-Cola production facility in China.
Spanning an area of more than 170,000 square meters (42 acres), the plant represents a US$160 million (RMB 1 billion) investment in China and is part of a three-year, US $4 billion investment plan announced last year that underscores the Coca-Cola system’s confidence in China and its fast-growing beverage market.
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Upon completion, this third bottling plant in Liaoning, operated by Coca-Cola Liaoning (Central) Beverages Co. Ltd., is expected to reach an annual production capacity of more than 5 billion servings of sparkling and still beverages, including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Minute Maid and Ice Dew. Coca-Cola plans to invest in nine production lines at the new facility, with four currently in operation.
The plant will directly create 500 jobs and generate an additional 5,000 job opportunities in the supporting industries. Together with two other existing plants in Shenyang and Dalian, this new investment will allow Coca-Cola to provide better services and refreshing products that quench the thirst of 44 million consumers in Liaoning Province and enhance its contribution to local development, according to the company.
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“This US$160 million commitment to Yingkou is more than an investment in Coca-Cola’s expansion to capitalize on the fast-growing China market. It is also an important step by Coca-Cola to assist in the development of local communities throughout China,” said Muhtar Kent at the opening ceremony.
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Xue Heng, the Vice Governor of Liaoning province, Martin Jansen, CEO of Coca-Cola Bottling Investments Group China, David G. Brooks, President of Coca-Cola China and senior officials of Liaoning and The Coca-Cola Company.
On March 28, the day before the opening ceremony, Kent also met with Liaoning Party Secretary Wang Min and other key officials to discuss investment opportunities for the future in the province.