Japan's largest confectioner Meiji Seika Kaisha is to boost its confectionery output in China by adding production lines for chocolate and chewing gum at its plant in Shanghai.

The company told just-food the lines would be added next month as part of plans to double capacity and grow sales in China by around 70% to JPY4bn (US$37.2m) this year.

"We are aware that the industrial competition has been severe in our sector owing to China's recent participation into WTO, but we are now working on new operational strategies, proposals and promotions," a spokesman told just-food yesterday (22 July). 

"We are planning for further expansions to penetrate the Chinese market and establish our brand image just as we have done in Japan."

Meiji ranks third in the Shanghai-area for chocolate sales behind Mars and Ferrero.

Like its key competitors, Meiji markets its products as luxury items that are usually bought as gifts in China.