Nestle is to invest CNY500m (US$81m) in tripling ice cream production at its facility in Guangdong in China.

Nestle, which opened the ice cream facility in March 2008, will make the investment over a five-year time frame in a bid to grow the business in southern China.

The company aims to strengthen its leadership position in the Guangdong ice cream market with its two main brands: Nestle and Wuyang. Nestle said it will increase capacity at the plant for those two brands in particular and replace old production lines.

The Guangzhou plant runs at a capacity of around 200m cones daily and is Nestle’s largest cone production facility, it said.

Due to fierce competition, Nestle closed its Shanghai ice-cream plant at the end of 2011.

Nestle, however, emphasised at the time it would make “significant investments” in its other ice cream operations in China. As well as its Guangzhou plant, the group operates a facility in Tianjin in the north of China.