Tsingtao Brewery Co., a Chinese beermaker part owned by Asahi Breweries Ltd. and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, denied a newspaper report that it plans to build its own plant in Taiwan.
The Taipei-based Commercial Times, citing a weekend report by the Nanfang Daily newspaper, quoted Tsingtao spokesman Zhang Ruixiang as saying the company may set up a Taiwan brewery following the consensus reached on Chinese investments on the island.
"We have no plan to build our own plant" in Taiwan, Zhang said in a phone interview yesterday. "We already have a beer venture through a collaboration in Taiwan and have a good relationship with our partner." He also denied having been interviewed by the Guangzhou, southern China-based Nanfang Daily. China's government said last week it would end a ban on investments in Taiwan on May 1 following an agreement to open cross-border operations for financial-services companies, expand direct flights and cooperate in fighting crime.
Tsingtao in 2002 gave Taiwan's Sanyo Whisbih Group brewing technology and the use of its brand name for a venture able to make 100,000 metric tons of beer a year, Tsingtao said in a statement at the time. Tsingtao gets royalties, Zhang said today, declining to say how much.
Tsingtao, based in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, may take as much as a 30 percent stake in the venture after Taiwan begins letting mainland companies invest on the island, according to the statement.
AB InBev, the world's largest beermaker, in January sold its 19.9 percent stake in Tsingtao to Japan's Asahi for US$667 million, reducing its interest in the Chinese brewer to 7 percent.