FRENCH WINE'S DOMINANCE IN CHINA MAYBE FADING, WARNED FRANCE TRADE AGENCY
By David Ma
The French government’s investment and trade agency Business France has sounded alarm on the sharp decline in French wine’s share of the Chinese imported wine market in 2018, statistics showed a decline from 31% to 26% in market share by volume in the period.
Though France is still China’s top imported wine source, Business France has highlighted the challenges presented by Australia and Chile, with the agency’s statistics showing that both countries have achieved 24% market share by volume in 2018.
Both Australia and Chile are benefiting from the free trade agreements signed between their governments and China.
“The new world is taking over the entry-level segment. We have to be careful about changes to market shares,” Santiago Diaz Herrenschmidt of the Wine and Spirits Division of Business France was quoted by French media as saying.
“Fortunately, the figures are not so bad in value terms, the Chinese market is far from mature, consumers there seem to be moving upmarket,” he added.
In value terms, French wine’s market share in Chinese imported wine market declined by only 2 percent points from 39% to 37% in 2018.
According to Chinese statistics, the country imported 1.8 million hectolitres (hl) of French wine in 2018 generating revenue of €903m, which translates to a decrease of 22% by volume and 7% by value compared to 2017.
According to French data, shipments of French wines to China totaled 1.4 million hl worth €603 million in 2018, down 34% and 20% respectively on the year before.
Adrien Broussard of Business France’s statistics department explained that the discrepancy is resulted from the fact that Chinese customs record all imported French wines, whether they come from France or transit through hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore, while French customs calculate exports shipped directly from France to China.
(the writer can be contacted at: DavidMa@thewinechronicle.com)
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