Coca-Cola, the global leader in the beverage industry, announced Tuesday that its biggest bottling plant in central China began operating in Hunan Province.
The new plant is designed to accommodate nine production lines -- four for water products, four for sparkling beverages and one for juice and juice drinks. Four lines were put into operation Tuesday and another five lines are expected to be launched by 2020.
As the first Coca-Cola plant in Hunan with non-sparkling beverage production lines, the annual production capacity is expected to hit one billion liters.
Coca-Cola invested 320 million yuan (41 million U.S. dollars) to build the plant, a key part of the company's investment plan of four billion dollars in China between 2015 and 2017.
"China is our third-largest market by volume, and we remain upbeat about the potential for growth throughout the market," said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola. "Over the past few years, China's consumer market has undergone significant structural change and we have continued to invest and adapt to ensure we are best serving our consumers and customers in a fast-changing market."
The new plant will be operated by COFCO Coca-Cola Huazhong Beverages, a joint venture founded by Coca-Cola and China's COFCO Corporation.