Officials within the Harbin government seem to be siding with Anheuser-Busch in its struggle for control of the Harbin Brewery with rival multinational SABMiller.

The Chinese newspaper Harbin Daily at the weekend reported a top government official saying that Anheuser-Busch is "the right strategic partner" for Harbin.

"A-B is a big corporate with influence in the global beer market. It is the right strategic partner that we have long been seeking," the daily quoted Harbin city Mayor Shi Zhongxing as saying.

The report added that he said: "The possible cooperation with A-B would benefit the development of Harbin...it would help the (beer) market consolidation in the northeast and boost profit."