Rising Income Boosts Chinese Taste for Wine


CHINA will become the world's fifth-largest wine consumer by 2015 as the disposable income of the Chinese rises and help them to satisfy their taste-bud for wine, according to an industry report yesterday.

Now the sixth-biggest wine consumer, China may rise one notch in five years to trail the US, Italy, France and Germany, a survey by VINEXPO Asia-Pacific showed.

From 2006 to 2010, Chinese wine consumption grew by 140 percent to 128.5 million 9-liter cases, the equivalent of 1.5 billion bottles. Reds account for 91 percent of the consumption but the number of drinkers consuming white wine jumped a notable 19 percent in the period.

"Economic growth is certainly a major factor since it gives purchasing power to Chinese consumers," said Dominique Heriard Dubreuil, chairman of VINEXPO Asia-Pacific, yesterday in Shanghai.

Imported wines, led by France and Australia, took up only 15 percent of Chinese wine consumption in 2010. But in terms of value, non-Chinese wines represented 37.4 percent of total sales in 2010.

"China could become the second biggest importer of wine in value by 2015, behind UK," said Dubreuil.

By then, China is also projected to be the world's sixth largest wine producer, according to an annual study done by International Wine and Spirit Research, which covers 28 producing countries and 114 consumption markets.

The growth in Chinese consumption of Moutai and Wuliangye, the top two Chinese brands of liquor, between 2011 and 2015 may slow to 20.3 percent to 1.28 billion cases because of competition from wine.

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