The deadly July 5 riots in northwest China cost soft drink giant Coca-Cola's new joint venture bottling plant in Xinjiang about 8 million yuan ($1.17 million) in sales over the last week, the plant's general manager on Tuesday.
Undoubtedly, the July 5 riot had short-lived impact on our business, Chen Hongbing, general manager of the plant, told Xinhua Thursday in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
The COFCO Coca-Cola Beverage (Xinjiang) Co Ltd, which employs about 400 people, suspended production for the day on July 8, but has resumed normal operations.
Since the riot, fewer tourists are visiting Xinjiang and fewer people in Urumqi are coming out at night, Chen explained.
Chen said many stores in downtown areas of Urumqi were closed during the past week and tourists, who were usually reliable consumers, had cancelled trips to Xinjiang, resulting in the decline in sales during the peak summer sales season.
Chen estimated the company's sales had dropped by 8 million yuan during the week after the July 5 riot left 192 people dead and 1,721 injured in the city.
The company can produce 200,000 tons of beverages annually from the factory that covers about 13 hectares in the Urumqi Economic and Technological District.
The bottling plant, opened by Coca-Cola, China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import and Export Corp (COFCO) and Xinjiang Youhao Group last month, supplies all Coca-Cola's plastic bottled products to cities and scenic spots in the autonomous region. Coca-Cola holds a 35-percent stake in the plant.
According to Chen, the riot wouldn't have any impact on the long-term marketing and investment in Xinjiang and Coca-Cola still has a very optimistic outlook on Xinjiang's economy and consumer potential in the long term.
Coca-Cola also is building a $19 million bottling plant in Inner Mongolia scheduled to open in 2010, said Glenn Jordan, president of Coca-Cola Pacific Group.
In June, Coca-Cola invested 210 million yuan in two bottling plants in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, and Urumqi.
The Urumqi bottling plant, one of Coca-Cola's 38 bottling facilities in mainland China, is expected to introduce new Coca-Cola products this year.