China’s ‘state liquor’ Moutai defies downturn with spirited growth

TOKYO — The coronavirus has paralyzed the Chinese economy and cut down on socializing and drinking at restaurants and bars. But one of the country’s most famous spirt brands has made merry regardless.

Kweichow Moutai, a state-owned distiller from the underdeveloped southwestern province of Guizhou that makes the sorghum-based hard liquor baijiu, bucked the downtrend with a 13% year-on-year rise in sales for the January to March quarter. Its net profit climbed 17% to 13.09 billion yuan ($1.85 billion).

The latest figures continue the Shanghai-listed company’s stellar growth. Kweichow Moutai’s shares have risen 8% this year, compared with a

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