PepsiCo‘s plans to expand its presence in China include initiatives to strengthen its local research and development capabilities and broaden its portfolio of Chinese-designed and developed products.

Local products that PepsiCo already markets include Tropicana Guo Bin Fen juices, Lay’s Lychee potato chips and Cao Ben Le drinks, which are inspired by traditional Chinese medicine.

The company has pledge US$1bn to invest in its Chinese business and said today that it plans to fund a variety of major capital programmes to grow its manufacturing capacity in China, particularly in interior and western areas.

The announcement came as CEO Indra Nooyi opened a new “green” beverage plant in the western city of Chongqing.

Over the next two years, the company expects to open five new beverage manufacturing plants – in Kunming, Zhengzhou, Quanzhou, Lanzhou and Nanchang.

“Despite the current uncertainty in many parts of the world, we have no doubt that China will remain a powerful engine of global economic expansion,” said Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chairman and chief executive officer. “

Today’s announcement was made during a ten-day visit to China by Nooyi. China is PepsiCo’s fastest-growing foods market and its largest beverage market outside the US.