Chinese beer group Tsingtao Brewery Co has held off rising costs and a weaker domestic beer market to increase profit by 42% in its first half.

The group, which is 27%-owned by US beer giant Anheuser-Busch, said today (20 August) that profit rose to RMB381m (US$55.6m) for the first six months of 2008. Revenue rose 15% to RMB7.8bn.

Trading conditions in the Chinese beer market were described by Tsingtao as having been "tough" so far this year.

Total beer market volume growth fell to 5.6%, compared with 16% the previous year, Tsingtao said, citing figures from China's National Bureau of Statistics.

The group said its own volumes rose 5% to almost 27m hectolitres for the half, slightly short of the industry average. Volumes of its top four brands, including Tsingtao, Shanshui, Laoshan and Hans, grew 30%, however.

The firm added that it had combated slower market share growth and rising costs for raw materials, energy and labour by raising beer prices, as well as by using "new production techniques and new materials". It failed to elaborate on what these were.

Tsgintao said it had launched a range of marketing campaigns around the Olympic Games, including a Nationwide Olympic Caravan, to boost performance in its second half.