Chinese brewer Tsingtao has seen higher beer sales push up earnings during its third quarter.

The brewer, which is battling it out with SABMiller's Chinese venture CR Snow Breweries for leadership in the country's beer market, on Friday (27 October) posted a 26% leap in net profit for the three months to 30 September.

Net profit reached CNY212.2m (US$26.9m) on the back of a 9% rise in beer volumes, buoyed by marketing campaigns for the Tsingtao brand ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing.

Earlier this month, SABMiller claimed it has taken the number one spot in China. In the first six months of 2006, SABMiller said, CR Snow Breweries had a market share of 14.9%, beating Tsingtao, which held 13.9%.

Tsingtao's management acknowledged the "fiercer competition" in China but said it will push on with restructuring its operations throughout China and optimising its brand portfolio to "maintain continuous improvements in profitability".