AB InBev to invest several hundred mln dlrs in China this yr

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Anheuser-Busch InBev , the world’s largest brewer, will invest several hundred million dollars in China this year, a sharp increase over past investments, the China Daily reported on Saturday, citing the company’s chief executive. Carlos Brito, CEO of the Belgium-based company, did not disclose an exact figure but said the investment followed “impressive growth” in China last year.

He made the comments after the company launched its first brewery in southwestern China that will ultimately have an annual capacity of 1 million tonnes.

AB InBev is investing 650 million yuan (about $100 million) in the brewery in Ziyang, in Sichuan province, which will produce Budweiser and Harbin brand beer, Miguel Patricio, president of AB InBev Asia Pacific, told the newspaper.

Chinese consumers drink some 40 billion litres of beer annually, accounting for nearly one-quarter of global consumption, China Daily said, citing industry analysts.

AB InBev first entered the Chinese market in 1997 through the acquisition of Nanjing Jinling brewery and now has more than 35 breweries in 11 provinces.

Brito said China, the biggest and fastest growing beer market in the world, is one of its three top-priority markets, along with the United States and Brazil, that will drive global growth for the foreseeable future.