The China Times

The predominance of the Chinese market for Bordeaux wines unabated

June 1, 2012

The predominance of Bordeaux wines in the Chinese market has not weakened, but still leaves us to expect significant market share after the Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2012 — wine and spirits exhibition that gathered in Hong Kong. Among more than a thousand exhibitors, half of them are French.

“The market for Bordeaux wines continues to grow,” said Thomas Jullien from Hong Kong, China representative of the Interprofessional Committee of Bordeaux Wines (CIVB).According to the CIVB, China increased its imports by 40% per year between 2005 and 2010 and 28% in 2011, focusing on the bottle and French wines, including Bordeaux, which represents 13% of exports.

“All signals show a very strong margin growth, with figures in making the market today with real consumption,” says Jullien, reached by phone Friday, the day after the close of Vinexpo Asia-Pacific. Over the past decade, the opening of the huge Chinese market has revolutionized the hierarchy of the first export clients of Bordeaux wines. The Chinese market, including Hong Kong, has become the leader in volume and value. In 2001, the core of the first nine customers (Germany, UK, Belgium, USA, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark) represent about 89% of volume and 87% of the value exported, while in 2011 they only account for 57% of the volume and 49% of the value. Today, China, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom alone drain half of the value exported in 2011.

“Bordeaux has never experienced such a phenomenon of unprecedented magnitude,” said Jean-Philippe Code, director of economic studies and the CIVB: “in ten years, the volumes to Asia were multiplied by 100.” The exponential curve of volumes of Bordeaux wines exported to China did not collapse so far, the pace of exports continuing to increase. “It’s exponential growth and steady. This shows that there is no disruption of the distribution chain, but a real market need,” said Mr. Code.

The explanation for this is the growing number of consumers, encouraged by the Chinese government in seeing a rational consumption of red wine a health benefit as opposed to hard liquor consumed in China, according to experts.”There is an excitement around the consumption of wine, in shops and even on television,” testifies M. Jullien.

The dominance of China and Hong Kong exported value is also related to the number of millionaires. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, in 2011 China had about 1.11 million millionaires in dollars, or 31% more than in 2009, putting the country in third place worldwide, behind the United States and Japan.”If Bordeaux had much success in China is primarily due to trading that has early opening these new doors,” says Code, but also to the “concept of brand, reputation.” “The wine of Bordeaux established itself as a social marker of success.”

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