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Gan bei! Finest tipples for wine lovers as the big feast kicks off

Time:2016-11-11 12:01wine - Red wine life health Click:

Wine lovers for the bei!

Gan bei! Finest tipples for wine lovers as the big feast kicks off Updated: 2016-11-11 07:06 By Lin wenjie in Hong Kong(HK Edition)



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The ninth Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair kicked off at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday, featuring more than 1,060 exhibitors from 36 countries and regions with their finest tipples from all over the world.

The fair showcases wine products from both domestic and overseas brands.

"It's a good chance for the world to understand baijiu (Chinese white spirit)," said Mitch Yu, business manager from Everrise International Trading, a Hong Kong-based middleman for Chinese mainland's high-end distilled liquor manufacturers.

"We want to bring baijiu to the world, and our products include Maotai, Wuliangye and Xijiu. Different from the South Korean soju, or Russian vodka, Chinese white spirit is brewed purely with grains, while soju or vodka is blended with edible alcohol," Yu said.

"Thus, although baijiu is very strong, usually with 40 to 60 percentage of alcohol by volume, you will not get headaches or worse-than-normal hangovers by solely drinking baijiu."

Gan bei! Finest tipples for wine lovers as the big feast kicks off

"The biggest challenge for baijiu in going overseas is the misunderstanding that people think baijiu is too strong to drink but, actually, it does no harm to your health as long as you don't blend it with other alcohols," he added.

Another challenge for sales of baijiu in Hong Kong is the high tariff, Yu said. It is more expensive for people to buy baijiu in Hong Kong than on the mainland, as the SAR government imposes a 100-percent tax on any liquor with an alcoholic strength of more than 30 percent by volume. In comparison, the government scrapped import duties on wine in 2008.

Foreign wine brands are also trying to tap into the burgeoning mainland market through Hong Kong, when wine consumption is flat or sinking across much of Europe. Wine producing regions, such as Croatia, Finland and the Philippines, are joining the fair for the first time to promote their exquisite products.

Wine sales on the mainland grew 8.4 percent per annum in the past five years to $40.4 billion in 2015, and they're forecast to grow 9 percent annually in value terms between 2015 and 2020. The continuous growth is partly contributed by Hong Kong's role in connecting inbound and outbound shipments.

Wine consignments from around the world that are shipped by qualified Hong Kong wine merchants from the city to specific regions of the mainland, such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, receive immediate customs clearance facilitation by mainland customs, which greatly reduces the cost.

Statistics show that Hong Kong exported more than HK$4.1 billion worth of wine in the first nine months of this year - up 25 percent over the same period last year, while imports grew 22 percent to HK$9.1 billion during the same period.

cherrylin@chinadailyhk.com

 

Gan bei! Finest tipples for wine lovers as the big feast kicks off

A man takes a snapshot of baijiu, or Chinese white spirit, on display in a booth at the ninth Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair which began at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Thursday. Industry experts said it would take much effort to change people's mindset on baijiu, when promoting the liquor in overseas markets. Parker Zheng / China Daily

 

(HK Edition 11/11/2016 page8)

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