Although only about 3 percent of the Chinese population regularly drinks wine, China is already the fifth largest market in the world due to its population size - 1.4 billion inhabitants.
Francisco Henriques, general director of China Wines & Spirits, one of the biggest importers in China, based in Shanghai, the economic capital of the country, points to the “potential” of different types of wine and grape varieties in Portugal, in a “dynamic” market which is “always looking for new things”.
“Here, I think Portugal has an opportunity with our varieties”, said Francisco Henriques. “The Portuguese alvarinhos, which are beginning to emerge, and the Touriga and Aragonês are also appearing”.
The official also stated that there is “great opportunity” for green wines.
“These are wines that are easy to drink and that match the climate and cuisine” of China, he notes. “I think these wines can grow a lot and whites in general”.
Francisco Henriques recalls, however, that “a lot of work needs to be done” so that “more people start to talk about” these brands in the market.
“This part takes time and needs to be done more consistently and more regularly,” he added.
E-commerce is also another “great revolution” in the way of selling and distributing wines in China. The Asian country is responsible for about half of the world’s internet sales, driven by a vast logistics network and groups such as Alibaba, Jingdong or Meituan.
The proliferation of e-commerce also benefits entrepreneurs, who are able to place their products anywhere in China, without relying on retailers.
Despite the potential of the Chinese market, mainly due to its scale and scope to expand consumption, wine continues to have a tiny market share, as breweries and cocktail bars are most popular in Chinese cities.