Wine consumption in China is growing, albeit slowly

Wine consumption in China is growing, albeit slowly

Chinese online supermarket group Yihaodian has linked up with a beverage consultancy to bring more foreign wine brands to the Chinese market.

Data Driven Marketing Asia (DDMA) director Sam Mulligan said his Shanghai-based company was already in talks with several leading wine brands from the US, France and New Zealand, but did not specify which ones. Mulligan said he expects the first brands to launch through Yihaodian in August.

An analyst said partnerships like this are critical in helping make wine more than an occasional indulgence in China.

“While wine consumption in China is rising, much of that is still split between high-end status and low-end mass market wines,” Torsten Stocker, partner at consulting firm Monitor Group, told just-drinks.

“Driving demand for a broader variety of wines, and for wine in general, beyond gifting and special occasions requires educating consumers, and a strong partner with the right expertise can make this process so much easier.”

Yihaodian is 51% owned by Wal-Mart and is one of China's fastest growing companies with 180,000 products available on its site, according to the Financial Times.

DDMA said it works with “leading Chinese and foreign alcoholic beverage groups”, but did not specify.

In a statement, Mulligan said: “The China wine market offers great potential but is complex in nature. 

"We are very confident that the package that we have developed for wine companies via Yihaodian will allow them to develop a successful, profitable and sustainable business in the China wine market.”