LONDON: In 2005 the People's Republic of China overtook the USA to become the world's biggest beer market. With an annual consumption of 300 million hectolitres, the Chinese roost was ruled by local brewer Tsingtao with 13.9% of the market.

But democracy will always triumph in the end!

In the first half of 2006, it came to pass that the heroic working-class brewers of the People's Paradise were overrun by the capitalist running dogs of SABMiller, the planet's second largest brewer and now numero uno in China with 14.9% market share.

The triumph of the London-headquartered company was achieved via its 49% stake in China Resources Snow Breweries, with China now accounting for some 18% of SABM's global volume sales - but only 5% of its profits, thanks to significantly lower margins than in the West.

Ruefully observes Andre Parker, SABM managing director for Asia and Africa: "China will not overnight become a very profitable beer market, it will be a hard slog."

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff