• Kyodo News

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Kirin Holdings Co. agreed Monday to join the parent of China’s largest brewer in exploring joint beer marketing and production opportunities there, the company said Monday.

Kirin wants to push into China’s vast market as business continues to slow in Japan. Kirin’s partner, consumer business conglomerate China Resources Enterprise Ltd., meanwhile hopes to enlist the major beverage maker’s help in broadening its product lineup.

The Chinese firm’s beer unit, China Resources Snow Breweries, the leader in beer sales in the country, is considering selling Kirin’s mainstay Ichibanshibori beer through its marketing network and using Kirin’s production facilities in China to boost the output of its Snow beer, company sources said.

Ever since its merger deal with Suntory Holdings Ltd. broke down last February, Kirin has been trying to expand abroad. One example of this is a recent attempt to buy into Singapore’s top beverage producer, Fraser and Neave Ltd.

The company has been searching for ways to build up its presence in the Chinese market while trying to improve the profitability of its group firms in the country.

Among major Japanese brewers, Asahi Breweries Ltd. has already allied with Tsingtao Brewery Co., taking an equity stake in China’s second-largest brewer to bolster its beer production in the country.

Other Japanese beer makers might follow suit as the domestic market is contracting along with the declining birthrate.

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