Tsingtao is China's oldest and best-known beer, although it has been outsold in the domestic market since 2004 by lower-priced (and state-owned) rival Snow. Tsingtao has a much broader global profile than Snow, with distribution in around 100 countries through local partners, but even export sales are still tiny by comparison with local consumption, contributing less than 2% of sales. The Tsingtao brewery was founded in Qingdao in North Eastern China in 1903 by a group of German and British traders, under the name The Anglo-German Brewery. It was one of the first Chinese brands to establish an international presence in the latter half of the 20th century, despite the restrictions of Communist rule. It has been exported to the US and other major Western markets since the 1970s, and Tsingtao Brewery issued an IPO of its stock in 1993. US giant Anheuser-Busch acquired a 20% strategic shareholding soon afterwards, but sold those shares in 2009 following its takeover by InBev. Most of that stake was purchased by Asahi Breweries of Japan, but was then sold again in 2017. Chinese investment fund Fosun acquired the bulk of those shares, becoming the largest single shareholder after Tsingtao's own pension fund. US distribution transferred in 2015 from Constellation Brands to Pabst's Jacob Best Imports. Kexing Huang is chairman. The group remains China's second largest brewer after Snow parent China Resources. Sales were approximately $4.1bn in 2019, with net income of approx $280m. Tsingtao itself comes in several different forms, not just the familiar "green-label" lager known internationally, but also as a dark stout and an amber lager. The main brand alone accounts for just under half of group volumes, supported by regional or niche beers like Laoshan, Shanshui and Hans. In 2015, the group bought out Suntory's share of two jointly owned breweries in Shanghai, and now controls well over 60 production sites nationally.
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Capsule checked 6th June 2020
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