Grupo Modelo is set to once again team up with Anheuser-Busch after striking an import deal with the Budweiser brewing giant for the Chinese market.

The deal, announced last night (4 December), will initially cover Modelo's flagship brand Corona but could in future include other brands in its portfolio, the Mexican brewer said.

"We are very pleased with this association, which offers excellent long-term growth opportunities for Grupo Modelo's brand portfolio in China, a very important market for our company," said Carlos Fernandez, Modelo's chairman and CEO.

A-B president and CEO August A. Busch IV said Corona would make "an excellent complement" to the brewer's portfolio in China, which includes Budweiser and local brand Harbin.

International brands have had limited success in China, the world's largest beer market. Budweiser is the best-known brand in what remains a tiny segment of the Chinese market, where local brands dominate sales.

SABMiller has hinted that it wants to introduce Miller Genuine Draft into China but has yet to decide when to launch the beer into a market where brewers have found it hard to command a premium price for an international brand.

The deal between Modelo and A-B serves to deepen the relationship between the two brewers. A-B owns 50% of Modelo, which handles Budweiser and Bud Light in Mexico.

A-B owns a 27% stake in Chinese brewer Tsingtao and fully owns another local brewer, Harbin.