China is a rapidly growing market for wine consumption, but it’s not an easy place to do business. With heavy tariffs on imports and tight quotas on production, the China wine industry is one of the most challenging in the world. But with so many potential customers, you can’t afford to be there. This blog post will give you some tips about how to make your way through this challenging environment and get your product into Chinese consumers’ hands.

China is among the most lucrative and fragmented markets in the world. It is the third-largest market for red wine consumption in the world, and with the increasing number of red wine consumers, it is expected to surpass France in 2021, becoming the second-largest red wine consumption market in the world. Thanks to its lower alcohol content and perceived wholesomeness, wine are increasingly appreciated by Chinese consumers, who are slowly approaching a product that in 2016 still represented only 5% of total alcohol consumption. The potential, as shown by the increase in import volumes of 18% in 2017, is enormous.  In terms of import value, the number of Chinese wine imports in December 2018 was US$302.3 million with a year-on-year decrease of 23.3%.

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China Wine Market Overview

France, Australia, Chile are in the top 3 of Imported Wine consumed in China

In China, the Wine market is leading by France.  French wine accounts for about 30% of China’s imported wine in 2018, French wine has dominated in China for a long time. Followed by Australia and Chile. Although, the top three wine exporters are still France, Australia, and Chili, in 2019, the rank has changed a little. 

According to the figures released by CAWS, Australia exported US$ 277.5 million of wine to the country during the first four months of 2019, representing 34.1% of the market share while France’s market share shrunk to 28.8%.

France with its 44.7 million liters of bottled wines exported to China. In terms of export sales value, compared with the same period last year for a total of US$234 million, it has declined by 37.3% year-on-year. 

Chile came on third. Performance by South Africa in 2019 was discouraging as well, with a 32.9% drop in value and a 57.92% drop in volume. But even though, Chili is the third biggest wine exporter to China.

Who are Chinese wine consumers?

The fundamental difference between competitors lies in the strategy. Very often, the error committed by promoting products made in Italy, in general, is to assume that they sell themselves.

The fact is that the Chinese consumer, although more mature and informed compared to a few years ago, is still not fully aware of the value of certain product categories.

Just think about the fact that in some Chinese fairs the division of the stands is simply between “old world” and “new world”. Where in the first fall together Italy, France, Spain and so on, and in the second one Australia, Chile, United States, etc.

How to sell your Wine in China?

E-brochure of The Wine Hub on WeChat

The Chinese consumer, we must remember, is far different from the Western one in the process of choice and purchase.

In the first place, as already highlighted, it is necessary to understand their cultural background and must be informed and localized differently in order to suit the Chinese wine market.

Secondly, through different channels.

Branding your Wine is the beginning of the success

Branding is a crucial issue, not just for the world of wine. If you want to enter the Chinese market, a brand cannot do without marketing. Until a few years ago it was still possible to find an importer or distributor for their wines that were willing to promote them on the territory.

Today the market is much more competitive and margins tend to fall. Potential partners before entering into an agreement are thoroughly informed about the Company before accepting the distribution of the products.

in China Having a good reputation is a must

The Chinese population read articles on specialized sites, visit forums on the topic, and take great care in reviews. Used to confronting themselves in a market full of counterfeits, they are very wary.

For this reason, it is important to pay attention to your online reputation if you want to do wine marketing in China. Before proceeding with the purchase, consumers are therefore used to carry out extensive checks on the winery, its products, and what is said in the sector

Digital is important for selling wine in China

In order to make wine marketing in China, it is very important to know the various types of wine consumers and to position their products on the market based on the target to be achieved.

Chinese are very convinced that the wine is good, especially now that the baijiu (one of the most popular traditional alcoholic beverages in the country) is considered harmful to health, especially if it exceeds consumption during meals.

Many websites and radio stations have spread the opinion that one glass of wine a day is good for health, supporting this thesis based on the results of various studies.

Digital marketing is key to your success in selling wine in China

The Chinese are much more open than us to new technologies. The most effective way to present a product is to resort to the use of videos or captivating photos, and this also applies to wines. Here are some examples:

  • Chapoutier: has published video content related to the history of its founder. The image return has been remarkable.
  • Moët & Chandon: focuses on the image and relies on designers for the splendid posters of its stores.

An e-commerce platform is your portal

Chinese e-commerce is booming. Tmall, one of the most popular platforms, in a short time has become a real giant and attracts millions of users. Usually, the wines distributed by Tmall are often produced by very popular brands, or they are “low-cost” products.

In the last period, however, they are gradually establishing other platforms specialized in online sales of wines such as yesmywine.com or winekee.com. Vertical channels, which recall conscious consumers, on which it is easy to find high-end products and great quality.

Wine and Social Network

Communication in China cannot be separated from social channels. As of the first quarter of 2020, about 904 million people had access to the internet in China, resulting in a fast-growing e-commerce market in the country.

Chinese people connect to the web to learn, chat and finalize purchases. It is therefore clear that a company interested in promoting its products must necessarily also be present on social networks.

The main ones are Weibo and WeChat. The important thing is to have an official account and to be able to communicate through a language aligned with Chinese tastes and culture, which is very different from ours. To be transformed into potential customers, followers must be involved with original and interactive content. Corporate communication in China has little appeal.

GMA Case Study: Fancy Cellar

Fancy cellar

The French Cellar imports French wines directly from reputable vineyards. All the wines are delivered with wine tasting notes, written by their prestigious sommelier for Chinese consumers to learn more about the wines, winemakers and local culture & geography in France.

Solutions for their wine e-reputation
  • SEO 
  • PR 
  • Community Management
Results:
  • Exposure to 1 million people
  • 25 events
  • 50% of keywords on 1st page

 

KOL’s importance in wine e-commerce

KOLs in China are indispensable figures for brand promotion. Prominent figures with millions of followers, who in the main Chinese social networks advise the public what to use and buy. Xiaohongshu is a very important platform for KOL’s marketing.

Chinese consumer, unlike the Western one, does not find direct sales annoying, indeed, very often the research. It is not uncommon to find within the channels of the KOL direct links to e-commerce of certain products they sponsor.

This is why, for a product still largely unknown as wine, it is imperative to have a suitable testimonial that tells its value to the general public.

If you want to know more in detail about China’s wine market and how can Chinese social networks help to sell wine successfully, contact Gentlemen Marketing Agency and prepare yourself to succeed!

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16 Comments

  1. Gentlemen,
    We are a family-owned vineyard soon to complete winery and vineyard, located on the island of CHIOS, GREECE. We cultivate the local variety of grapes such as Mantilaria, Asyrtico, Lymnio, and Athiri out Of these varieties we have been able to produce four excellent wines that have been awarded Gold Metals by the world-famous CWSA BEST VALUE CHINA WINE & SPIRITS AWARDS 2019. Of these, we have three reds and one white. Of the reds, we have one sweet. one semi-sweet, one dry. and a white dry.
    Having worked most of my life in the hospitality industry, and the most famous places in New York City. such as the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the Copa-Cabana night club, and PlayBoy Club, while performing my duties as service supervisor I also performed the duties of a Sommelier and still am a card-carrying member of the sommelier society of America. and as such, I proudly present my wines as among the very best in the world.

  2. Yes, I want to sell to China!!! I have sent to you all the pertinent information about my wines and Company. A few days ago, Expecting your reply. Thank you.!!!

  3. Hello,
    We are a Chinese Retail group, and are searching for niche wine from everywhere in the world, good quality and minimum of awareness in China
    we work for Chongqing General Trading Group;

    1. Hello,

      I can provide the wine, from the region of apuglia in Italy, it is known in Europe, in China not so much yet, but perhaps if you find the value in our service, we can do business, the Brand is Cantolio

    2. Dear Sir,

      We are happy to supply our botte with filter and to collaborate with your company organization in your country.

      We offer three products; our City bottle 50 cls, our Outdoor 75 cls and our Active 75cl, all with a 200 lt filter include. All of our bottles are refillable, reusable and recyclable and all feature a 3-in-1, nano technology filter, which itself is 100% recyclable.
      Our filters are tested and proven internationally to filter 200 litres of water, removing up to 99.9999% of microbiological contaminants and more from water. A twin pack of replacement filters are available which is allowing a consumption for 1 year drinking.

      Just a brief recap; our filters are tested on four continents in internationally recognized laboratories and our results show that we remove up to 99.9999% of all microbiological contaminants as well as chemicals and pesticides.
      We will keep you and your clients safe and healthy while they travel and make their trips responsible and sustainable by completely reducing the need to buy bottled water and hence reduce the impact of single use plastic on our environment and oceans.

      In addition, with branded bottles your logo will advertise your organization for months and years to come!
      The last branded bottle we made is for UNMAS.org, AWF, WWF etc.

      We have a UNIQUE portable bottle with a powerful nanotechnology filter which removes not only bacteria also all VIRUS.
      Water to Go have developed our technology far beyond the original media designed for NASA. We have enhanced performance which enables our filters to not only achieve but to surpass EPA guidelines on water filtration efficiencies.

      Activated carbon filters will take out sediment and some other materials, whilst Water-to-Go increases your drinking safety by taking out more, including:
      Metals including lead and chromium
      Dangerous chemicals including “VOC”s (volatile organic compounds)
      Fluorides, chlorine
      Disease carrying bacteria e.g. E. coli, Cholera and Typhus
      Sickness inducing viruses such as Hepatitis A and Norwalk viruses
      Potentially fatal parasite eggs (known as Oocysyts) like Giardia lamblia

      The bottles are lightweight, weighing just 138g for 75cl and 98g for 50cl. 
      The 75cl filters will purify 200 liters of water and 130 liters for 50cl bottle, which is 3 months of normal everyday usage.

      The comprehensive nature of the filter allows you to fill up with water from almost any fresh water source whether it is questionable tap water, lakes, streams, rivers, canals, taps, wells, public wash basins or even puddles!
      This means you do not have to carry heavy fresh water on a long day out – all you need is your Water-to-Go bottle for safe, filtered, drinking water.

      I thank you for providing us with the opportunity to collaborate together for a better future and with better water.
      I remain at your disposal should you have any questions, comments or remarks.

      Looking forward to hearing back from you.

      With best regards,

      Stefan Spiridon
      Managing Director
      Water-to-Go Switzerland, Benelux, Germany, Austria

  4. Hi, I would like to sell French Wine from our vineyard in Bordeaux to China. Would love to get in contact.
    Kind regards,
    Hannah Smith

  5. Hello, I would be pleased to offer Spanish wine for sale in China. Looking forward to create business opportunity for all parties involved.

    Warmest regards,
    Strela

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