Speaking yesterday at the China Sciences and Humanities Forum, company CEO Indra Nooyi suggested that PepsiCo expected to employ around 600 Chinese graduates to better adapt to local challenges within the market. Dick Detwiler, a spokesperson for PepsiCo, said the company's plans to increase local workforce reflected the massive levels of growth it had seen in its operations there, and was the best way to ensure further success. "It is very clear based on our experience that to succeed in the food and beverage market around the world our products, as well as our marketing, must be locally relevant," he said. "That means they must reflect the local culture, as well as local taste preferences and ingredients." In order to increase its understanding of the Chinese market, Pepsi also reiterated the importance of continuing to expand its R&D capabilities, following the opening last year of its first non-US facility in Shanghai. "We recently established a research and development centre in China to support our rapid growth there, and to develop products that will directly address the needs and interests of local Chinese consumers", said Detwiler. Pepsi is currently involved in around 40 joint and solely-owned ventures in China - its second largest market outside the US - with total investment exceeding one billion dollars. The company added that to fully realise its growth ambitions it was preparing to invest a further $850m (€635m) into its Chinese operations between 2006 and 2009.