CHINA – Swiss food and beverage behemoth, Nestlé, has announced a series of investments in China that will further strengthen its footprint in the country and enable it to further enhance its product portfolio.

The company is planning to invest more than US$103 million (RMB 730 million) in a “significant” capacity expansion of its existing petfood plant in Tianjin, introducing new production lines for high-value products.

The investment also includes the company’s first production facility of plant-based products in Asia. In addition, Nestlé is also making an new investment for the confectionery business with an upgrade of the production line of Nestlé Chengzhen Wafer.

The company also plans to further develop the Tianjin Nestlé Quality Assurance Center by further enhancing laboratory testing and quality monitoring services, quality assurance and laboratory capacity-building training, technical support for food safety and compliance testing, and more.

Together, Nestlé said that these investments underline the company’s determination to contribute to the transformation and upgrading of China’s food industry.

The food and beverage firm has signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) Administrative Commission to kickstat the investment plan.

Speaking during the event, Mr. Rashid Qureshi, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé Great China Region, said, “Nestlé has a strong commitment to China and has long been dedicated to deepening our roots in the Chinese market

“Since Nestlé opened the first factory in Tianjin in 1994, we have continued to increase our investment and regard TEDA as one of our important bases in China. We are grateful to the local government for always providing Nestlé with such an excellent business and investment environment.

“In the spirit of Nestlé’s ’Creating Shared Value’ principle, we expect these projects to boost sustainable economic development in local communities by driving food manufacturing expansion and product innovation.”

With the rapid pace of urbanization in China, pet ownership has been a trend and is becoming increasingly popular not only in top tier cities but also across low-tier and rural areas.

Viewing this trend as a significant opportunity, Nestlé plans to further invest in and increase the production capacity of Nestlé Purina PetCare factory in TEDA.

The company said that it will introduce production lines for brand new high value-added products, such as the Veterinary Diet and Wet Cat Food categories, to provide pets with richer and premium food options.

Nestlé is also planning to increase investment in the transformation of its wafer products and expand the annual production capacity in order to provide consumers with more diversified options for healthy leisure snacks.