PepsiCo (PEP.NYSE) agreed to sell its 24 bottling operations in China to Tingyi Holding (0322.HKG) in an effort to boost the US company’s market share in one of the world’s most competitive beverage markets, The Wall Street Journal reported. The companies said that in return PepsiCo will receive a 5% indirect stake in Tingyi-Asahi Beverages Holding (2502.TYO), of which 50% is owned by Tingyi and 32% is owned by Japan-based Asahi. PepsiCo also has the option of increasing its stake in Tingyi-Asahi to 20% by 2015. The deal will give PepsiCo access to Tingyi’s vast distribution network in China, and Tingyi-Asahi will own the exclusive rights to manufacturing and distributing PepsiCo’s trademark drinks, including Gatorade, Tropicana and other Pepsi soft drinks, in China. Coke had 16% of China’s beverage market share in 2010, compared to 11% for Tingyi and 5.5% for PepsiCo, according to market research consultancy Euromonitor International.