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Alibaba eyes wine opportunity with US$290m investment in 1919.cn - report

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Alibaba is to invest CNY2bn (US$290m) in Chinese alcohol retailer 1919.cn, according to a report.

Alibaba wants to be a part of Chinas growing interest in imported wine

Alibaba wants to be a part of China's growing interest in imported wine

Reuters said on Friday Alibaba's investment looks to tap into growing demand for wine in China. 1919.cn saw sales jump 16% in 2017 and revenues are forecast to more than double by 2019.

Details on the size of Alibaba's stake were not disclosed.

Chinese consumers are upping their wine consumption, with imported variants becoming more popular among middle-class drinkers. The country is now the top export market by value for Australian wine, with Australian wineries pivoting their focus away from other markets to East Asia. In a move designed to attract more Chinese consumers into wine, Treasury Wine Estates this year announced a Shiraz infused with the traditional Chinese spirit baijiu. Penfolds Lot 518 was launched in September and is available in Global Travel Retail.

Based in the south-western Chinese city of Chengdu, 1919.cn is a retailer and importer of alcohol, and sells beer and spirits alongside wine. Its name is a homophone, examples of which are often used by businesses in China. When said in standard Chinese, 1919 sounds like "want alcohol, want alcohol".

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