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Hong Kong the gateway for Hawke’s Bay wine into China

25 August 2011


Hong Kong the gateway for Hawke’s Bay wine into China

Hawke’s Bay wineries wanting to break into Asian markets, and in particular China, would be well advised to consider Hong Kong as the gateway, a delegation from Invest HK, the official economic and trade organisation for that region, told members of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Inc. last week.

Hong Kong has no duties on wine imports and has had year-on-year growth in wines from around the world of 80 percent, 45 percent and 74 percent in the last three financial years. In response, over 800 wine-related companies have set up their business in Hong Kong, and its wine auction sales in 2010 amounted to US$164 million, making it the world’s largest wine auction centre.

“As Hawke’s Bay has the largest number of wineries in New Zealand actively exporting to China, the information presented was hugely valuable to their businesses,” says Lyn Bevin, Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers’ Executive Officer.

The wineries that attended found the meeting very worthwhile and were going to look further into the opportunities and assistance provided by Invest HK, she says.

Out of 36 million visitors to Hong Kong in 2010, 22.6 million were from mainland China, and these travellers were “thirsty for best quality wines”, according to Cameron Broadman, head of Invest HK New Zealand and Australia division. The wine market in Hong Kong was booming; “We are keen to see more Hawke’s Bay wineries taking advantage of that opportunity,” Mr Broadman told the group.

“New Zealand as a brand has exceptional favour in Hong Kong. Lamb and beef, Fonterra all command huge respect and premium prices. That would translate to your wines without a doubt.”

He outlined how a co-operative of 22 California wineries had set up a wine bar, California Vintage, that was “very very successful” and was to be replicated in other locations in Hong Kong, then China, Singapore and possibly even Japan.

Mr Jimmy Chiang, head of Tourism and Hospitality with Invest HK, outlined to the group a scheme for accrediting storage facilities to meet strict criteria. This was being expanded to also cover retailers and restaurants. There was also an increase in the number of local training institutions with enhanced educational programmes for people engaged in wine-related businesses, and more training materials being translated into Chinese.

Invest HK has also worked with Chinese Mainland customs to set up measures to help wine imports into the country, including pre-valuation of wine, and compressing the clearance time at Mainland ports. This was one of the most difficult aspects New Zealand wineries have had to contend with in exporting to China to date, Ms Bevin says.

Improving market access and resolving trans-shipment and clearance issues with Chinese Customs has also been the subject of a joint initiative between NZ Winegrowers and the New Zealand government. The Invest HK registered network significantly removes these complications for exporters.

In addition, along with other official agencies, Hong Kong is also clamping down on counterfeit wine.


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