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Vietnam Plans to Take Over Southeast Asia With Beer

Vietnamese beer may soon be taking the rest of Southeast Asia by storm.

Moving toward 2020, the Vietnamese government has plans to raise both domestic and export beer output by as much as 25%, reports the Wall Street Journal. As one of Asia's largest beer consumers, the country is already well-equipped to take on other beer markets in the region and is keen to increase production from 3.4 billion liters in 2015 to as much as 4.25 billion liters by 2020, according to the Vietnam Beer Alcohol Beverage Association.

Part of this new push toward more beer-drinking comes from the recently formed ASEAN Economic Community, a 10-country economic bloc, which is expected to improve trade relations between Southeast Asian nations.

“The ASEAN Economic Community will boost trade and allow freer flows of labor and services, so it will be an opportunity for Vietnamese beer to go to a wider market,” Phan Chi Dung, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's light-industry department, told WSJ.

In addition to making its own moves abroad, Vietnam is also attracting foreign beer investors. Last May, Anheuser-Busch InBev opened its first brewery in southern Vietnam, producing Budweiser and Beck's in-country alongside other foreign names like Denmark's Carlsberg Group and UK-based outfit SABMiller PLC.

Thailand's Singha Group also entered Vietnam last month with a massive investment, purchasing stakes valued at US$1.1 billion in subsidiaries of Vietnam's Masan Group. According to a joint statement by the two companies, Singha Group now owns a 25% stake in Masan Consumer Holdings as well as a 33.3% stake in Masan Brewery, which opened its first plant in late 2015 with a capacity of 100 million liters a year.

There is also talk of Vietnam finally opening up its largest brewery, Sabeco, to foreign investors, however the company is waiting on government officials to make the final decision, according to Phan Dang Tuat, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's enterprise reform commission and also the former deputy chairman of Vietnam's beer association. Officials say several foreign brewers have expressed interest in Sabeco, which is 89% state-owned and controls 45% of Vietnam's beer market, producing ubiquitous local beverages like Saigon Beer and 333.

Photo via The City Lane]

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