The company expects the purchase of a 55 per cent share in one of China's premium spirit makers from minority partner Jiannanchunto to grant it instant access to the country's spirits market. In recent years, China's spirit market has been booming but the sector stills lags behind the surging demand for wine and beers. As such, Moët plans to work with Jiannanchun to push its spirits brands in the country, according to the company. The group said that in addition to the marketing drive, it would also invest in updating Wen Jun's production facilities. Company president Christophe Navarre stressed that the buy was a crucial move for the group in increasing its revenues in China's dynamic beverage sector. "This investment in China's spirits industry signals an important move for Moët Hennesy as it seeks to contribute to the development of the Chinese premium spirits market," he stated. Between 2000 and 2010, the total market within the country for spirits is expected to grow by about 44.6 per cent to $28.6m (€19m), according to figures supplied by consumer analyst Datamonitor. However, there still remains a great discrepancy between spirits sales compared to those of wine and beer. Over the same period, sales of wine are estimated to grow by 68.2 per cent to $5.1bn (€3.7bn). Even these figures pale into insignificance when compared to the market for beer in the country though, which leads the alcohol sector both in growth and sales. By 2010, annual beer sales over the decade are estimated to have grown by 75 per cent to $43bn (€31bn).