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Wine consumption grows fast in China thanks to burgeoning middle class

news.cgtn.com by Wang Yue08/11/2018  

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The burgeoning middle class in China has contributed to the rocketing performance in wine consumption, which means huge opportunities for Australian wine brands and businesses, according to Geoff Raby, former Australian ambassador to China.

China is one of the world's largest markets for imported wine, with a total of 746 million liters of wine valued at 2.789 billion US dollars shipped to the country, according to data released by China's top customs regulator, the General Administration of Customs.

“Last year alone, wine import increased 54 percent, and we expect that it could continue in the future,” Raby said optimistically. From his perspective, wine is a kind of income-sensitive product. The increase of incomes and the emergence of the Chinese middle class have allowed individuals to foster new desires.

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Geoff Raby, former Australian ambassador to China /CGTN Photo

“It's not a surprise that scale in China always amazed people, but it's really a reflection of growth of incomes and burgeoning middle class. When people get richer, they can choose other things. And wine is a very income-related item for them to choose… People in the middle class are changing a lot. It amazed me when I see people at lunch time eating steak and drinking lovely wine in Beijing,” he reminded.

Australian wine exporters have enjoyed a positive relationship with China's wine trade and strong presence at the ongoing China International Import Expo (CIIE). Furthermore, they are not going back empty-handed. Roby said they have signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for wine imports, about 137 million US dollars in total.

He advised international companies entering China to maintain the high product quality, and in the meantime have a premium product to lead the brand image.

"Certainly in the wine industry, the premium and the best success go to the wine that has the best quality. And Chinese consumers, although relatively unfamiliar with the products, really understand quality," he stated.