US soft drink and snack food giant PepsiCo will be opening a research and development centre in Shanghai, its first to be established outside the US, a company spokesperson informed just-food today (30 March).

PepsiCo’s Dick Detwiler told just-food that the R&D centre will focus on the development of new snack foods and beverages specifically for the Chinese market. It will also adjust existing products to suit Chinese taste preferences. “The facility in China will be involved in developing and adapting snack food and beverage products for Chinese consumers,” he said.

Although Detwiler refused to divulge details of the investment, PepsiCo has previously stated that it will invest a further US$850m in developing its business in China in the next three years.

China is PepsiCo’s biggest market outside the US. In 2005, PepsiCo sales grew by more than 25% and a similar increase is expected this year.