ATLANTA: Coca-Cola is to invest $2 billion (€1.6bn; £1.4bn) in China over the next three years, having seen its sales volume increase in the country by 19% in 2008, compared with an overall decline of 1% in North America.

The company has opened a technology centre in Shanghai as the first stage of its investment, which marks an increase of 25% on its total outlay in China since it resumed trading there in 1979.

According to Euromonitor International, Coca-Cola has a 54% market share in the Chinese soda sector, compared with the 31% held by Pepsi.

Chinese retail spending is due to expand by 14% this year according to the National Development and Reform Commission, and Coca-Cola is also seeking approval to buy soft drinks company the China Huiyuan Juice Group for $2.4bn.

Kenny Tang, executive director of Hong Kong-based Redford Securities, says it is "wise for international companies to invest in China" at present, as the country is trying to boost domestic consumption as exports fall.

Data sourced from Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff