Only days after confirming it is in talks with a potential joint venture partner in Thailand, the Belgium-based brewing conglomerate, Interbrew, is now reported to be negotiating to take a shareholding in a Chinese brewer.

The company is apparently eyeing a possible participation in the Guangzhou state-owned Zhujiang brewery. The brewery is currently undergoing a restructuring programme in advance of a public share offering.

Reports suggest the brewer is likely to allow Interbrew to take a 20% stake in the company. The two companies have worked relatively closely together for many years.

An estimated 22.3 million tonnes of beer was brewed in mainland China in 2000. The largest player is the Tsingtao brewery with around 7% of the market; Zhujiang is thought to have around a 4% share.