The Japanese distiller Suntory has said it will begin selling whiskey in China, according to press reports.

Quoted in the Japanese press, executives from the company said they hoped to begin sales in China as soon as possible, firstly in Shanghai and nearby regions.

"It will likely take time for the habit of drinking whiskey to take a firm hold in China but we want to market the product as soon as possible in order to cultivate a market," one Suntory official was quoted saying.