Exporting wine to China continues to be a rather unusual challenge because of the market’s unique characteristics but after a period of fluctuations, Chinese wine imports are showing again a strong growth that is expected to persist for the next 3 years.
According to recent studies the Chinese wine market will continue to grow by close to 7% year after year until 2020, making the Asian market the second biggest one in the world after the United States. The market has the potential to reach more than 21 billion USD. The increase in consumption is fuelled largely by the development of the middle class and the expansion of wine in other medium and large cities. Trends also shift from smaller volumes of expensive wine to far larger volumes of lower priced wine.
Imports have also shown a solid growth: 2016 set a record for the last 5 years with an increase of close to 20%. In the first ten months of the last year the total volume of imported wine was 505 million l, an increase in both volume and value.
As the market continues to mature we can see a lot of change in the structure of the players and the imports themselves. The large number of small wine importers that existed in the recent years will move towards a system where there are fewer but larger importers, more potent importers. The popularity of French wine, especially red wine from Bordeaux, slowly fades and imports from other regions gain more and more traction. Wines from Australia and New Zealand are the rising stars of the Chinese importers. In 2016, for example, the imports of Australian wines increased in volume by 40%, which combined with the reduction of tariffs that was possible thanks to the free trade agreement between the two countries also increased represented a huge success for the producers of New World wines.
For an up to date list of wine importers from China, you can access the BestWineImporters databases.