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Coca Cola Co in mid August announced plans to invest USD$4 billion in China as food brands scramble to expand in its fast-growing consumer market, according to The Globe and Mail.

The investments will take place over three years beginning in 2012 and raise Coca Cola’s total investment in China between 2009 and 2014 to $7 billion, according to the report.

Coca Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent was quoted saying China is one of the company’s most important growth markets.

Chinese retail spending in June rose 17.7% over a year earlier, according to the government.

In July, Nestle SA announced the purchase of a 60% stake in candy maker Hsu Fu Chi for $1.7 billion. Earlier this year, Nestle also bought a controlling stake in Chinese food processor Yinlu Foods Group.

Restaurant chains such as McDonald’s Corp. and Yum Brands Inc.’s Pizza Hut and KFC also are expanding.

Kent said Coca Cola’s sales volume in China for the first half of 2011 was double that of five years ago.

Coca Cola, based in Atlanta, opened five new facilities in China in 2009-10 and this year has opened one and plans to open a second and break ground for a third, according the company.

Source: The Globe and Mail

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