Blog: China sweet or sour?
Chris Brook-Carter | 4 May 2004
China may be the scene for a dramatic takeover battle for Harbin Brewery, the country’s fourth-largest beer business, between the world’s two brewing powerhouses Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller.
Speculation of a Chinese standoff between the two has been growing all day since it emerged Anheuser has taken a 29% stake in Harbin. The problem is that SABMiller already owns 29.4% itself.
The highly-aggressive move by Anheuser has set up a head-to-head battle for control of the remaining 41.6% of Harbin, run by Peter Lo, the chief executive, which is traded on the Hong Kong stock market.
The timing of the potential battle and the extent to which each company will go to secure control of Harbin will be fascinating, as many observers believe the Chinese bubble is set to burst.
China's economy has been among the world's fastest-growing for some time, but 2003 saw a fresh spurt, with gross domestic product expanding 9.1%. The massive boom has sparked fears the economy will overheat, triggering government action to restrict lending and tighten land-use rules to slow industrial developments. Indeed, last week reliable sources reported that smaller banks had been told to block new lending for a few days, despite official denials.
The well-regarded strategic planning website stratfor.com said late last week: “New lending policies in China are triggering a fundamental rethinking of the stability of the Chinese economy. This time no amount of damage control can hide the fact that the myth of the Chinese economic miracle is finally - and perhaps fatally - breaking apart.”
It continued: “There are extremely serious problems with China's economy in general - and with its banking system in particular. The only issue on the table is whether the behaviour of China's authorities reveals deep concern or outright panic. That is an interesting question - and not a trivial one - but it does not cut to the heart of the problem, which is that China, contrary to popular perception or even its extremely high economic growth rate, is in serious trouble and is desperately searching for a soft landing - a landing that might not be available.”
This weekend sees yet another “International Day” for a drinks category. Lucky us. Anyway, ahead of Sunday’s International Cachaça Day, here’s a wealth of information on Brazil’s national spirit, cour...
In yet one more sign that The Coca-Cola Co is losing its lustre, the soft drinks maker has, for the first time, fallen out of the top ten of a 'world's biggest brands' ranking....
What a week for stats! Yesterday, the Beverage Marketing Corporation released figures to show the bottled water market had more than doubled over the past 15 years in the US....
The Euro 2016 football tournament is almost upon us....
- The post-Brexit winners and losers - Analysis
- What Brexit means for drinks industry? - Analysis
- What does Brexit mean for AB InBev's SAB deal?
- Customisable drinks - The next consumer trend
- Interview - Seedlip founder, Ben Branson
- Carlsberg to close UK distribution arm
- Pernod Ricard exec shuffle - Denis O'Flynn leaves
- C&C Group will be a Brexit victim - analyst
- The UK Referendum - just-drinks Live Blog
- Pernod Ricard gives Beefeater packaging revamp
- Adultifying Soft Drinks; Capitalizing on rising adult demand for non-alcoholic beverages
- Global Scotch whisky insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global non-Scotch whiskies insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Spirits and Wine: Corporate Overview
- Global RTD insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends