Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola is planning to invest around $4bn in its Chinese operations over the next three years.

Between 1979 and 2014, the company has invested around $9bn in the country.

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent was quoted by Xinhua as saying: "China is our third largest market by volume and is critically important to the future growth of our business.

"We are committed to investing and growing here. Apart from infrastructure and system development, the new round of investment will focus on enhancing consumer experiences through marketing and [projects with] our loyal retail partners."

The latest plans were announced at the ground breaking ceremony of a new plant in Hebei Province in north China.

The 50,000m2 plant that required an investment of $56m will feature nine production lines and will produce a total of 250 million unit cases a year upon completion.

By 2017, the facility will have four production lines, and will produce 100 million unit cases.

The plant is the second facility to be built by the company under its new investment plan.

Over the next few years, the Coca-Cola Company and its local bottling partners, including COFCO Coca-Cola Beverages, Swire Beverages and Coca-Cola Bottling Investments Group China plan to invest in production, distribution and marketing in China.

Coca-Cola recorded a 6% growth in China in the second quarter, compared to same period a year ago.