FILE - In this file photo dated Friday, March 30, 2018, bottles of Heineken beer are photographed in Washington, USA. Dutch brewing company Heineken said in a statement Friday Aug, 3, 2018, it is buying a 40 percent stake in the company that controls China’s biggest beer maker, China Resources Beer.(AP Photo/J. David Ake, FILE)

Beer maker Heineken strikes deal to expand in China

August 03, 2018 - 4:29 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — Dutch brewing company Heineken says it's buying a 40 percent stake in the company that controls China's biggest beer maker, China Resources Beer.

Heineken said in a statement Friday that it would invest $3.1 billion in the venture as it seeks to expand in the world's biggest beer market.

It says that Chinese drinkers are embracing imported beers and that CRB, a state-controlled company that produces the best-selling Snow lager, lacks a premium overseas brand.

The stake in CRB would significantly boost Heineken's distribution reach.

Heineken is trying to keep pace with, Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is the world's largest brewing company and in 2016 added to its heft by taking over its closest rival, SABMiller.

AB InBev is worth 174 billion euros ($202 billion), multiple times Heineken's 51 billion euros.

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