Carlsberg is one of the first international brewers who exported beer to China one and a half centuries ago. In the mid 19th century, the first batch of Carlsberg beer travelled halfway around the world to China. Like other commodities representing the westernized lifestyle, Carlsberg began to accumulate fame in this ancient empire. At that time, Carlsberg was seen as a kind of special “wine” and served in Chinese bars.
Carlsberg officially began its business in Greater China in 1978. The company inaugurated the Carlsberg Brewery in Hong Kong in 1981, which became the base for Carlsberg’s expansion into mainland China. In 1995, Carlsberg acquired a major shareholding in a brewery in Huizhou, Guangdong. From that time on, Carlsberg’s presence in the mainland was assured. In 1999, all production was moved from Hong Kong to Huizhou. The Carlsberg Brewery Guangdong in Huizhou now supplies products to mainland China, Hong Kong, and the Macau markets. After 2000, Carlsberg expanded its footprint to the western territories of China. It accelerated the acquisition of shareholdings in breweries in West China.
Carlsberg not only concentrated on manufacturing high quality beer, but also paid more attention to developing products that better fulfilled consumers’ demands, as well as nurturing consumers’ taste and demands. In order to better cater to this new approach, Carlsberg implemented a brand extension strategy and West China strategy in the Chinese market. Today, Carlsberg has full ownership or joint ventures in seven provinces.
For Carlsberg, the West China Strategy is not taking over the market or brand replacement. Rather, through the acquisitions Carlsberg is trying to raise Chinese beer brewing standards in order to provide better beer for more people, and carry out its commitment of growing together with local community, partners, suppliers, and employees. While keeping the local brands in the West, Carlsberg is assisting the acquired breweries to reconstruct and upgrade their facilities, as well as introducing advanced technology, brewing methods, and management approaches. As the result of these efforts, Carlsberg has become the leading brewery group in West China.
- 1860s: Carlsberg first exported to China
- 1978: Carlsberg Brewery Hong Kong under construction
- 1981: Inauguration of Carlsberg Brewery Hong Kong
- 1995: Carlsberg Brewery Guangdong set up in Huizhou
- 2003: Carlsberg acquires 100% shareholding in Kunming Huashi Brewery and Dali Beer Group in the Yunnan Province
- 2004: Carlsberg acquires major shareholding in Lhasa Brewery in the Tibet Autonomous Region
- 2004: Carlsberg acquires major shareholding in Lanzhou Huanghe’s three breweries in the Gansu Province
- 2004: Together with local partners, Carlsberg invests in greenfield brewery in Qinghai – with production starting in 2005
- 2004: Carlsberg acquires 34.5% shareholding in Wusu Brewery in Xinjiang Autonomous Region
- 2004: China and Hong Kong launch Carlsberg Chill
- 2005: Carlsberg increases shareholding in Wusu Brewery Group to 50% and later via Xinjiang Hops Co. Ltd holds 10% of Wusu.
- 2006: Through a joint venture with Ningxia Nongken Enterprise Group, Carlsberg establishes a greenfield brewery in Ningxia Autonomous Region. Carlsberg owns 70% of the joint venture.
Carlsberg was appointed as the sole distributor of Sol.
- 2008: Carlsberg becomes the 2nd largest shareholder of Chongqing Brewery Co. Ltd by holding 17.5% shareholding.
- 2010：Carlsberg increases stake in Chongqing Brewery Co. Ltd to 29.71%
- 2011: Carlsberg launches Carlsberg Light in China
- 2012: Tuborg launched in China
- 2013: Carlsberg signed a partnership with the Chinese Super League
Breweries: 39 (Western China, incl. Chongqing)
Market position: 1 (Western China, incl. Chongqing)
Annual beer consumption per person: 40 litres
Carlsberg Green Label, Carlsberg Chill, Carlsberg Light, Tuborg, Kronenbourg 1664, Kilkenny, Wind Flower Snow & Moon, Xixia, Wusu, Sinkiang, Lhasa, Dali, Huanghe, Guinness, Shancheng Beer, Chong Qing Beer, Boostar, Jolly Shandy, and Jagermeister.