Japan's second largest brewer, Kirin Brewery, has indicated that it is on the look out for a strategic partner in China.

"In China we are looking for partners in the northeast, Tianjin, Beijing and the Guangdong region," President Koichiro Aramaki told a news conference.

The company also said it was looking for opportunities in the rest of Asia to increase business.

Kirin Brewery, which is second behind Asahi in Japan, expects to sell 187.2m cases of beers in 2004, an increase of 2.2% on the previous year.

Last year, Kirin's beer sales dropped 7.6%, as efforts were hit by poor weather, which affected demand for beer across the country. But the company hopes this year that the domestic market will see an overall rise this year of 1%.