Marlboros to be Made in China

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Marlboros to be Made in China

BEIJING -- Philip Morris International plans to license production of its Marlboro cigarettes to China National Tobacco Corp. as well as set up a joint venture to market Chinese cigarettes abroad, the two companies said in a Forbes report.

Trial production began last year in anticipation of the agreement, with formal production expected to begin in early 2006.The Philip Morris' Marlboro brand will be manufactured under license at China National Tobacco Corp.'s affiliate factories and will be distributed by their official distributors nationwide in China.

Philip Morris, a unit of Altria Group Inc., also established a 50-50 venture between itself and China National Tobacco Import and Export Group Corp.

The international joint venture will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland and will sell Chinese heritage brands globally, expand the export of tobacco products and tobacco materials from China, and explore other business development opportunities, according to the report.

Founded in 1982, China National Tobacco recently reported having 33 provincial tobacco companies, 17 tobacco industrial companies, 57 cigarettes industrial enterprises and more than 1,000 other commercial enterprises and national companies.