Campbell Soup Co. has formed a soup venture in China with its local distributor, the Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific.

The US food group said the Campbell Swire venture would be based in its offices in Shanghai and would oversee the production, distribution and marketing of soups for the Chinese market.

Campbell, which first entered China in 2007, plans to take a 60% stake in the venture. It said it hopes the venture would support the development of its soup business in China.

President and CEO Doug Conant said: “We continue to believe that developing a commercial soup market in China represents a tremendous business opportunity for our company.”

Swire, which Conant said had been “an effective distribution partner”, will hold the remaining 40% of the venture. Chairman Christopher Pratt said: “The consumption of soup is an integral part of Chinese dining culture and its commercialisation has exciting potential which we believe this new partnership can realise.”