Coca-Cola's Chinese sales up in spite of anti-U.S sentiments

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BEIJING--Coca-Cola Co. 's bottling plant in Beijing has reportedthe highest monthly sales figures since its launch two decades ago,indicating that the recent growth in anti-U.S. sentiment is dyingdown.

"The worst is over," said Lo Bing-Chung, VP of Coca Cola ChinaLtd., referring to the sharp drop in sales in May following theNATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Serbia, which provokedwidespread anti-U.S. sentiments in China.

"Sales of Coca-Cola will increase this year," added Mr. Bing-Chung. His optimism is based on 20% growth figures for the firstthree months of the year.

Coke's health contamination scare in Belgium in June also threatened to dampen sales, but recent sample tests taken in more than20 Coca-Cola bottling plants by the Ministry of Health have beenfavorable to the cola giant.

Coke is setting up three new bottling plants in Chengdu, Taiyuanand Kunming this year, bringing the total number of plants in thecountry to 24, representing a total investment of $800 million.

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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