The alliance with state-owned Habeco, will see Carlsberg strengthen its position in Vietnam, which it views as a driving force in the development of the Asian-Pacific beer market. By further consolidating its position in the Vietnamese beer market, Carlsberg will increase pressure on the country's brewers as it continues to work with local company's to push its products. "The engagement with Habeco is an important part of our strategy to develop our business in Asia through partnerships and investment in market leading companies", said Carlsberg Asia's senior vice president Jesper B. Madsen. The Denmark-based multinational entered the Vietnamese beer market in 1993. It has been linked with Habeco through a memorandum of understanding for the last two years. Following the announcement last month that Habeco was to offer a 24 per cent share in its operations as part of its privatisation plans, Carlsberg announced it hoped to play some part in the deal. The expected average annual growth for beer production in Vietnam is around eight per cent, according to Carlsberg's estimates. The group expects will see beer sales in the country, which totalled 15.2m hectolitres in 2006, to rise to 28.1m hectolitres by 2015, making the market the third largest in Asia. The Habeco move marks the third joint venture by Carlsberg into the country following two similar deals over the last 14 years. In 1993, Carlsberg created the South East Asia Brewery joint venture with Viet Ha Brewery, in which it holds a majority stake. Two years later, it claimed an equal share of another business with the Hué Brewery.