|A man smokes a cigarette in front of an advertisement, showing the skyline of Shanghai on Nov 23, 2016. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)|
Britain's Imperial Brands, the world's fourth-biggest tobacco company, has moved to gain a foothold in the largest cigarette market through a joint venture with state-owned China National Tobacco (CNTC).
The joint venture, Global Horizon Ventures Limited (GHVL), will be based in Hong Kong and link Imperial with CNTC subsidiary Yunnan Tobacco, which controls over one-fifth of the Chinese market.
The joint venture will help Britain's Imperial Brands gain a foothold in China's cigarette market
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"Further tobacco and next-generation product launches, as well as potential M&A opportunities, will also be evaluated by GHVL in due course," Imperial Brands said in a statement.
The two companies said the joint venture will grow Imperial's West and Davidoff brands in China, and Yunnan's Jade and Horizon brands internationally.
China is by far the world's largest tobacco market, selling about 2.5 trillion cigarettes a year, or about one in every third cigarette smoked.
CNTC set up a different joint venture with British American Tobacco in 2013.