Italian Trade Agency (ITA) has signed a co-operation agreement with China’s state owned fine wine distributor W&W International to promote and boost sales of Italian wines in China.
W&W International is the wine importing arm of China’s state-owned food stuff conglomerate China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO).
Announced in a conference jointly held by ITA and COFCO W&W International recently in Beijing, the co-operation agreement covers areas including provision of marketing, promotion, communications and training services.
COFCO W&W International will also help build 150 off-line physical shop spaces showcasing Italian wines across China.
Some 150 wine tasting events will be held and are to be hosted by well known Chinese wine experts.
Agreements have also been reached with online retailer Alibaba’s Tmall and Tencent’s JD.com to launch online stores for Italian wines.
Amedeo Scarpa, Trade Commissioner and Coordinator of ITA Offices in China, said the Italian government had long overlooked the Chinese wine market, leading to low popularity of Italian wines in China.
He said his government would now put more effort in promoting its wines in this fast growing wine market.
In April, a deal to promote Italian wines in China was announced at a conference hosted by then Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and Jack Ma, the founder of online giant Alibaba and one of China’s most influential businessmen.
Ma said the joint effort has the potential to raise Italy’s performance from 6% of Tmall’s wine sales currently to 60% in the near future.
Tmall will hold the Wine and Spirits Festival on 9 September to introduce global wines to Chinese consumers. Ma said Italian wines will be featured prominently in this event.
China is Italy’s sixth biggest wine export market, after the United States, Germany, UK, Canada and Switzerland.
In 2017, Italian wines accounted for 5.4% of China's total wine imports, ranking fourth after France, Australia and Chile. The first quarter of this year saw the share increased to 6.8%, but the gap with the top three remains very wide.
(the writer can be contacted at: email@example.com)