BEIJING: China’s wine imports seem to have recovered from previous tepid growth with increases seen in bottled, bulk and sparkling wine imports in the first half of the year, the latest data from the China Customs has revealed. From January to June this year, China imported 254 million litres of bottled wines worth about US$1.146 billion, representing a 13.9% increase in volume and a 3.34% increase in value over the same period last year. France still ranks as the biggest wine exporting country to China in terms of volume and value, taking up more than 40% of market share with 98.23 million litres of wines worth about US$485.1 million shipped to China during the period, followed by Australia, Chile, Spain, Italy, the US, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Portugal. Among China’s top 10 wine importing countries, New Zealand registered a marked climb in ranking, rising from last year’s No. 9 to this year’s No. 7, signalling Kiwi wines’ rising popularity in the country. The two countries signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2008.
China’s coastal province Guangdong, neighbouring Hong Kong, remains the country’s biggest consumer of imported bottled wines. From January to June, the province imported US$437.3 million worth of bottled wines, surpassing Shanghai’s US$332.2 million, although the latter imported more wines in terms of volume. The importing value of the two provinces combined accounted for more than 60% of the country’s total wine import value, as shown by the figures. Other top consumers of imported bottled wines in China are Zhejiang province, Beijing, Fujian province, Shandong province, Tianjin, Jiangsu province, Liaoning province and Sichuan province. Meanwhile, the country imported 75.51 million litres of bulk wine, representing a year-on-year increase of 6.86%, and its value also climbed by 24.86% to US$64.01 million compared with the same period last year.
In terms of country of origin, Chile shipped the most of bulk wines to China, which amounted to US$29 million, followed by Australia (US$13.5 million), Spain (US$12.5 million), France (US$3.2 million), South Africa (US$2.18 million), the US (US$1.95 million), Italy (US$ 612,000), Canada (US$328,000), Portugal (US$312,000), and Germany (US$97,932). In the sparkling wine category, the country imported 6.72 million litres of bubbles, valued at US$34.08 million, up 5.49% in volume and 28.3% in value over the same period last year.