Nimrod Group, the parent company of US-listed China Industrial Holdings, will introduce overseas investors to a mainland brewery group to be formed by a merger of seven small local players. Senior vice-president Flemming With-Seidelin said the merger would 'beat the transport problems by being available in a number of locations from Jilin in the north to Guilin in the south'. Overseas investors would be able to buy a majority stake in the proposed group and develop a pan-Chinese brand, expected to be the fastest-growing beer market segment over the next five years. Mr With-Seidelin declined to name the seven breweries involved. It is estimated China's total beer production will reach 24 million tonnes in five years, compared with 15.7 million tonnes last year. Mr With-Seidelin said pan-China brands would make up 14 per cent of the market in 2000 from 4 per cent last year. The mainland beer market would continue to be dominated by cheap provincial brands with half the market share at the end of the decade, compared with 80 per cent last year, he said. Imports would make up 1 per cent in 2000, foreign super premium brands 7 per cent, foreign brands 8 per cent and provincial premium brands 20 per cent. Nimrod stirred a controversy early this year after China's securities regulator questioned its takeover of a state-controlled company by buying non-tradeable state shares.