China’s wine con­sump­tion is grow­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By JACK FREIFELDER in New York jack­freifelder@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

“China is a large con­sumer mar­ket for a num­ber of prod­ucts: cars, per­haps con­sumer elec­tronic items and why not wine?”

That was a ques­tion raised dur­ing a dis­cus­sion on “Trends in the Wine and Food In­dus­tries in Hong Kong and China” and the per­son rais­ing it was Anthony Mak, di­rec­tor of the Hong Kong Trade De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil (HKTDC).

Mak spoke at the gath­er­ing ear­lier this week hosted by the Hong Kong As­so­ci­a­tion of New York (HKANY). The event was pre­sented as part of The Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive

On aver­age Chi­nese con­sumers are just con­sum­ing one-fifth of what Hong Kong con­sumers are do­ing in terms of wine.” ANTHONY MAK DI­REC­TOR OF THE HONG KONG TRADE DE­VEL­OP­MENT COUN­CIL (HKTDC)

Re­gion (SAR) Brief­ing Se­ries.

“On aver­age Chi­nese con­sumers are just con­sum­ing one-fifth of what Hong Kong con­sumers are do­ing in terms of wine,” Mak said. “So even if China is the largest con­sumer mar­ket for wine in the world, it has a lot of po­ten­tial to grow even fur­ther.”

The Chi­nese main­land and the Hong Kong SAR en­tered into a Closer Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Agree­ment (CEPA) in June 2003. A sig­nif­i­cant part of the agree­ment is that Hong Kong and the Chi­nese main­land have zero im­port tar­iffs for goods go­ing be­tween the two. As a re­sult, one of the mar­kets that has picked up in the last decade is China’s liquor con­sump­tion.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing the world’s largest al­co­hol mar­ket, China is also the big­gest global con­sumer of red wine, per data from a Jan­uary 2014 re­port by In­ter­na­tional Wine & Spirit Re­search (IWSR).

The coun­try, in­clud­ing the wine hub of Hong Kong, con­sumed 155 mil­lion nine-liter cases (1.87 bil­lion bot­tles) of red wine in 2013. France and Italy rounded out the top three with 150 mil­lion and 141 mil­lion cases, re­spec­tively.

Red wine con­sump­tion in the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy nearly tripled be­tween 2007 and 2013, ac­cord­ing to a Jan 29 story by The Wall Street Jour­nal, while the other two leading wine con­sumers each saw re­duc­tions.

How­ever, wine con­sump­tion on a per capita ba­sis in China (1.5 liters per per­son) still trails France by a size­able mar­gin (51.9 liters per per­son).

When the fo­cus changes from red wine to over­all wine con­sump­tion, the US re­mains the world’s top wine-drink­ing na­tion. In 2012, the US drank 333 mil­lion cases, with France, Italy, the UK and China round­ing out the top five.

Mar­ion Tilly — brand man­ager for Mon­sieur Tou­ton Se­lec­tion Ltd, a New York-based whole­sale dis­trib­u­tor of wines and spir­its — said some of her Chi­nese clients buy wine but not nor­mally for per­sonal con­sump­tion.

“Chi­nese people don’t nec­es­sar­ily have a huge wine drink­ing cul­ture,” Tilly said in an in­ter­view with China Daily. “They tend to buy wine, but mostly for gifts be­cause of the gift-giv­ing cul­ture. I’ve also no­ticed that some restaurants that have Chi­nese clients don’t nec­es­sar­ily sell wine a lot be­cause Chi­nese people are drink­ing mostly beer.”

JACK FREIFELDER / CHINA DAILY

Anthony Mak (left), di­rec­tor of ser­vice pro­mo­tion with the Hong Kong Trade De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil, chats with Jen­nie Ma, a real es­tate bro­ker with the Cor­co­ran Group, at an event on trends in wine and food in Hong Kong and the Chi­nese main­land in New York.

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