Despite being the world’s most valuable spirit brand, Kweichow Moutai has mostly been consumed domestically until this day. However, the company is seeking to increase its international presence and plans to increase its overseas sales to 10% of its total sales by 2020.
With a market capitalisation of RMB 870 billion (USD 7.1 billion), Moutai overtook Diageo to become the world’s most valuable spirit company last year. Though being the world’s no 1 and a household name in its home country, Moutai is not well known internationally.
In fact, the company generates 95% of its profit from domestic market, and a largely part of the remaining 5% is from the overseas Chinese community.
Having seen a need to have bigger presence in the world, Moutai has recently carried out large-scale brand promotion activities globally in Germany, South Africa, United Kingdom and other countries with close ties with China.
The most significant move so far is the signing of an “historic” agreement with Britain’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) last month, aiming at creating a blueprint to build a strategic, cooperative partnership. according to the WSTA.
Being one of the world’s most important wine and spirit hubs, the UK has become Moutai’s fastest growing overseas markets. In 2017, Moutai Group saw its annual sales revenue hit $12.1 billion, profit top $6.4 billion, and revenue exceed $4.1 billion. It exported 17.5 tons of Moutai liquor to the UK, generating nearly £2.5 million sterling in revenue.
The agreement was signed by WSTA chief executive Miles Beale and Yuan Renguo, Chairman of the Kweichow Moutai Group during the Guizhou Trade and Economic Cooperation Conference held in London.
“Over the last few years the China-UK friendship has continued to warm with the efforts of the leaders of both countries – welcoming a golden era of China-UK relations. This has had a direct impact on increasing our trade relations: sales of British products, such as Scotch whisky, continue to grow in China; Moutai and other Chinese liquor brands continue to increase sales in the UK,” said Yuan.
Yuan unveiled plans of setting up five offices around the world, and the construction of an international marketing network to promote Moutai liquor to different cultural backgrounds.
Moutai is classified as Baijiu in China. These are grain-based colourless spirits and are technically vodkas yet with a lot characters. Moutai is famous for its complex flavour and purity. Current land controls in the Guizhou province means the company won’t be able to produce more than 60,000 metric tons of its Baijiu annually.
In the face of production limits, Moutai is keen to find opportunities outside of China to expand its operations, according to WSTA.