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Asahi aims to sell Tsingtao Brewery stake, go solo in China

Investors welcome move, shares rise in Tokyo and Hong Kong

China boasts the world's largest beer market, but sales have chilled since 2013.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Asahi Group Holdings looks to sell its nearly 20% stake in Tsingtao Brewery in what would be the Japanese brewer's latest divestiture in China as resources are directed toward expansion in Europe.

China's beer market has expanded with the nation's economy to become the world's largest, but sales have retreated since their 2013 peak amid an austerity push by President Xi Jinping and declining consumption by younger individuals. Yet upmarket Japanese-brand beers enjoy growing demand in China, and Asahi intends to cultivate China on its own.

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