(Reuters) – Beyond Meat Inc (BYND.O) said on Tuesday it had signed a deal to open a production facility near the business hub of Shanghai, as the plant-based meat products maker ramps up its focus on the rapidly growing Chinese market.

Beyond Meat (Jiaxing) Food, a unit of the company, signed a pact with Jiaxing Economic and Technological Development Zone to design and develop manufacturing facilities in the region, it said.

Trial production is expected to begin within months and reach full output in early 2021, the company said, as it looks to expand into Asia, where alternative meat products are yet to experience the popularity boom seen in the United States and parts of Europe.

“Beyond Meat Inc will be the first multinational company focused solely on plant-based meat production to bring its own major production facility into China,” the company said in its statement.

The move comes as plant-based meat makers, including rival Impossible Foods, seek to tap into the potentially lucrative mainland China market.

In April, Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) said it would roll out a plant-based food and beverage menu in China, launching Beyond Meat and Oatly products in the country as it was recovering from coronavirus shutdowns.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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