Asahi is to take a large step into China, according to reports. The Economic Daily News has reported that the Japanese brewer is expected to acquire a 50% holding in Tingyi Holding Corp to make inroads into China's beverage market.

The report says that the acquisition will cost Asahi almost US$1 billion, but does not name a source for the story. According to the paper, Tingyi chose Asahi over Coca-Cola Co. as its partner because the US company wanted more than a 50% stake in the company.

On Monday, Tingyi asked the Hong Kong stock exchange to suspend trading in its shares as a major transaction will shortly be announced.