Merchant du Vin has formed an importing company in Hong Kong that will sell speciality beers throughout China.

The company said that the launch of MdV-Asia Ltd had taken two years of research, planning, and building of a distribution network.

MdV-Asia general manager Samson Lo said: "The Chinese specialty beer market is still small, but has been growing rapidly over the past five years - and speciality beers are the fastest-growing component in the beer category. Chinese people like to try new things."

Currently, MdV-Asia is selling Samuel Smith and Ayinger beers in China.

MdV president Rich Hamilton said: "We have taken a very focused approach with a limited portfolio to start, and we'll continue to evaluate our business model based on opportunities in China.

"Over time we expect  to grow the portfolio on a selected basis... we may even branch out from our stalwart US portfolio and represent a slightly different mix."