Like a dog with two tails

19 February, 2018

“We have a dedicated China brand manager based in Shanghai and she is working with the trade to develop sales and consumer awareness. Initial results are very promising.”

According to Jousse, Les Dauphins was recognised as the number one French power brand in China in the latest China Landscapes report from Wine Intelligence.

“Our shipments have surged by more than 60% in 2017 vs 2016, with the biggest orders coming in Q4 to prepare for Chinese New Year.”

CHINATOWN DEVELOPMENT

In 2012, the census estimated that the Chinese diaspora equalled 50 million, almost the same size as England’s population. This has a big influence on the development of Chinatowns in cities around the world and the increasing number of celebrations taking place each year. San Francisco has the reputation of having the biggest Chinatown in the world, with London being among the most influential.

“London Chinatown has the biggest Chinese New Year celebration in Europe,” says Damian Williams, operations manager at Opium bar in London’s Chinatown.

“Chinese New Year is the busiest time of year for us, more so than Christmas. The celebrations are crazy and that’s one of the reasons we launch a new menu for the festival each year.”

According to Williams, millennials account for 30% of the Chinese population, putting particular focus on the bar industry. However, inside China it is a different picture for the on-trade.

Rob Bevis, president at specialist wine importer for the on-trade, Roque Wines in Shanghai, says: “The roughly nine-day holiday period of Chinese New Year sees a real slow-down in business in Shanghai – many people leave the city to visit family in other areas. Business is good in the lead up but not so great during the holidays.”

This is probably the biggest difference to western culture. In Europe and the US, restaurants and bars are booked up for the majority of December to host parties for companies, families and groups of friends. Essentially the opposite happens in China, and this could be an area to watch over the coming decade.

As airports and trains fill up with Chinese nationals returning home to celebrate the New Year, opportunities for brands in travel retail are becoming significant. But as the changing attitude of China’s millennials and middle class continues to move away from tradition and target the luxury western lifestyle, the dollar, or equivalent, sign will flicker on the eyes of importers, the Chinese on-trade and international brands with history.





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Joe Bates

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