China's State Tobacco Monopoly Administration announced Thursday that it had seized 9.07 billion counterfeit brand cigarettes in 2006.
Law enforcement agencies arrested 6,334 people in connection with falsely branded cigarettes with 2,313 prosecuted, said administration spokesperson Zhang Xiulian.
Zhang said the tobacco industry produced more than two trillion cigarettes last year and reported more than 290 billion yuan (US$37 billion) in pre-tax profits, a year-on-year increase of 20 percent.
He said China's tobacco industry was getting stronger through mergers and acquisitions. At the end of 2006, China had 31 tobacco production companies, compared with 44 at the end of 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency January 11, 2007)