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Pepsi to Double China Workforce over 5 Years

PepsiCo , the world's No. 2 soft drink company, plans to double its workforce in China over the next half decade as it fights for a larger slice of the growing market, Chief Executive Indra Nooyi said on Tuesday.

"We work hard to ensure a deep and continuous supply of talent to meet our growing needs in China, where we expect to double our workforce over the next five years," Nooyi told a seminar in the Chinese capital.

She gave no details of the expansion, apart from saying it would include 600 new graduates, but had earlier said the company's joint ventures have thousands on their payroll.

"We and our partners directly employ about 15,000 people, and indirectly provide employment for 150,000 people in the service, supply and retail sectors," she said.

More than 90% of employees are Chinese nationals, Noonyi added.

Rival Coca-Cola , the world's largest soft drink company. is also looking for strong growth in China and other emerging markets as consumers in many developed markets shift away from sugary soft drinks towards healthier beverages.

PepsiCo arrived in China in 1981 with a soft drink plant in Shenzhen and has invested more than $1 billion to date.

Pepsi's partnerships make annual sales turnover of more than 50 billion yuan ($6.47 billion), she added, without detailing how much of this went onto the firm's balance sheet.

In recent years the firm has evolved from being known mostly for selling soda and salty snacks into a $33 billion food giant that has embraced the push into healthier options like Tropicana juices, Aquafina water and whole grain Quaker Oats Cereals.

The company also has a research and development centre in China, working on products that suit Chinese tastes as well as low sugar and hopes to expand a demonstration potato plantation in northern Inner Mongolia province.

"One day we hope to make China our base of production to supply potatoes not just locally but throughout Asia."

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