Commerce: The Republic of China
After serving as the Postmaster General under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, James Farley served as Chairman of The Coca-Cola Export Corporation from 1940 until 1973. After 1973 he served as Honorary Chairman of Export. In 1958 he was also elected a member of the Board of Directors of The Coca-Cola Company and continued in this position until his death in 1976.
Coca-Cola first appeared on the market in continental China in 1927 in the two cities of of Tianjin (Tientsin) and Shanghai. This first period of business in China spanned for 13 years, but was halted in 1941 with the outbreak of World War II. Coca-Cola made an attempt to reenter China after World War II in both Qingdao (Tsingtao) and Shanghai in 1946, but after the founding of the People's Republic of China, all bottling operations ceased in those two cities
In 1978, seven years after President Nixon’s visit to China, Coca-Cola signed an agreement with the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import and Export Corporation granting Coca-Cola the rights to sell cola drinks in the Chinese market. "The re-entry of Coca-Cola into the People's Republic of China is a momentous occasion for us," J. Paul Austin, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Company said in December 1978. "This agreement is the culmination of several years of cooperation and negotiation, and it reflects a positive relationship which has been carefully built through mutual good will and hard work, both in Atlanta and Peking. We are honored to have the opportunity to further that relationship."
On January 22, 1979, the first shipment of Coca-Cola arrived in China after a 30 year absence. The shipment of 20,000 cases (approximately 350 tons) was 5,000 cases of Coca-Cola in 6 1/2 oz. bottles and 2,000 cases of Coca-Cola in 12-oz. cans to Guangzhou; 3,000 cases of Coke in bottles to Shanghai; and 7,000 cases of bottles and 3,000 cases of cans to Beijing. Initial distribution of Coca-Cola in China was to restaurants and other facilities serving tourist areas.
Text and images courtesy The Coca-Cola Company.