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The International Wine Industry
The Real Wine Boom in China
Wednesday, 25th July, 2007  - Richard Farmer

While Australian wine producers, like most of the world’s manufacturers, look longingly at China and calculate what just a tiny little increase in consumption might do to sales, news from the land of 1.3 billion people suggests they should be worrying about Chinese wine exports rather than contemplating the imports.

The Xinhua newsagency reported this week that China's wine output has been growing by 15 percent annually in the last three years, meaning more job opportunities and better lives of many Chinese farmers.

"Driven by soaring wine demand," Xinhua reported, "the grape planting bases in Shandong, Hebei, Gansu, Xinjiang and Ningxia have been expanding quickly, creating more job opportunities for local farmers and increasing their income, said a report of the China National Wine Quality Supervision and Inspection Center. According to the report, there are 46 wine companies in Penglai of east China's Shandong Province. More than 30,000 farmers are planting grapes for the companies. Xintian International Liquor Company Ltd. in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has 10,005 hectares of planting areas. The company provides a total of 300 million yuan for 20,000 farmers who plant grapes for it."

The report also said the nation's wine industry needs to create more diversified products to maintain its healthy development.

As to the place of imports, the China Wines Information website describes their role in this way:

"Among the 53126 tons of wine imported in 2005, only 10340 tons of them are wines in package less than 2 liters. The quantity of small package wine captures only 2% of the Chinese wine market. In Q1 2006, the quantity of imported wine was 21 thousand tons, increasing by 75% on an annual basic. But the proportion of wine with small package less than 2 litre is only 14%, decreased by 3%. It shows that the big package bulk wine captured the biggest portion of the imported wine. According to the statistic, most of the bulk wines are imported from Chile, France and Spain. Because the customers are not aware of the real origin of wine, the importation of bulk wine won’t make a large impact on domestic wine brands."

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