Unilever has invested approximately $112 million to expand its ice cream manufacturing site in Taicang, China.

Unilever’s Taicang site was first established in 1996, and Unilever expanded the site in 2003 and 2013. The newly-expanded facility will reportedly become fully-operational in early 2022.

The expanded Taicang facility will reportedly cover an area of 66,000 square-metres – including factory lines, warehouses, offices and an annex building – and will be capable of producing an estimated 150,000 tonnes of ice cream annually.

The expansion project marks one of Unilever’s biggest expansion efforts in the Chinese ice cream market in recent times, and the site is expected to become a larger manufacturing hub for Unilever.

According to local reports in China, the company plans to expand the site further in future, anticipating that the facility will become one of the company’s largest food production bases in the country, also providing manufacturing facilities for products such as tea bags and seasonings.

Rohit Jawa, executive vice-president of Unilever North Asia, said: “Unilever has always been optimistic about China’s economy, and will continue to increase investment here, especially in the Yangtze River Delta.

“We will build the new Taicang manufacturing site into the world’s first ice cream factory integrating automation, intelligence and agility.”

Han Fangjun, vice president of supply chain of Unilever North Asia, added: “As the world’s largest ice cream seller, Unilever looks forward to combining its world-class ice cream production capacity with China’s digital intelligent technology to build a brand new flexible production line.”