China has consolidated its position as the world's biggest beer producer, according to local reports. People's Daily said today (24 February) that total beer production last year increased by 15.2% year-on-year to 29.1m metric tons.

Citing a source from the China Beer Industry Association, the newspaper said that the country's top ten breweries accounted for 55% of China's total output.

China has more than 400 breweries and more than 2,000 companies linked to the brewing industry across the country, the paper said.

Average per person consumption of beer in 2004 was about 18 litres, lagging well behind developed countries, where per capita consumption is about 200 litres a year, it concluded.