Japan’s largest frozen foods manufacturer Nichirei Foods is to invest around JPY5bn (US$59.7m) in the Chinese city of Shanghai to build a new factory in 2011.

The plant will produce frozen foods such as pasta and rice pilaf, with an expected production capacity of 2,000 tonnes per month, almost the same as Nichirei’s largest factory in Chiba prefecture, Japan. 

Products will be specifially developed for the Chinese market, with prices 75% than in Japan. 

Nichirei expects annual sales of JPY25bn (US$298.6m) in China, from all its Chinese plants; Nichirei already owns two operations in the country – one in Shandong province and one in Shanghai. 

The existing Shanghai factory will be replaced by the new plant, whose exact opening date is unknown. “The new plant will be supplying the Chinese market, but we have not decided if it will also support our export business,” said a Tokyo-based Nichirei spokesman, who added details are still under discussion.