Coca Cola expects China to be its largest market, said E. Neville Isdell, chairman and chief executive officer of the Coca Cola Company.
Although China's economy has been growing rapidly for more than two decades, Isdell noted that he had confidence in its further growth. "China is currently our fourth largest market, but I hope it could become No.1."
Coca-Cola built two new bottling factories in east China's Jiangxi Province last July and in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in August, bringing the total number of its factories in China to 37.
A new complex including the Global Innovation and Technology Center and the new Coca Cola China Headquarters, costing 80 million U.S. dollars, broke ground in Shanghai, China's largest industrial center, according to Isdell.
"The 2008 Olympic Games would be a great opportunity for China, " he said.
Coca Cola, the world's biggest soda supplier, now owns a wide variety of soft drinks in China, ranging from mineral water and fruit juice, to tea and coffee. It owns more than half of the shares in the soda beverage market.
Entering China in 1928, Coca Cola became sponsor for the Olympics in the same year and now helps the national selection of torchbearers and escort runners for the Beijing Olympics.
Talking about the success in China, Isdell underlined social responsibility and innovation.
As for innovation, Isdell cited the example of tea drinks it developed for the Chinese market. "You should discover the new flavors suitable for the market," he said.
Confidence is equally important. The two-meter-tall chairman said that he had been drinking Coca Cola with his wife every day for ages and the beverage was still their favorite.
"You should believe in what you sell and be totally committed," he said.