According to the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post, if Italy wants to increase its current share of the Chinese wine market, it should definitely better exploit the appeal of Prosecco. According to official statistics, “Italy is lagging in the fight for sales in China, which is tipped to become the world’s second-biggest importer of wine by 2020”. Indeed, “sales of Chianti, Pinot Grigio and other samples from Italy’s 300-plus wine denominations accounted for barely five per cent of the US$2.4 billion dollars’ worth of wine that the world’s most populous nation imported in 2016”.
Not only France, but also Australia, Chile and Spain are doing better than China, securing together the 44% of the local market.
By interviewing several wine retailers in China, the South China Morning Post got the impression that Italy has been too slow to enter the market, which is a pity because, in terms of both quality and price, Italy has the capacity to offer much better products. The problem with Italy is that both small and big producers are aiming at entering the market themselves, which is impossible as not many people China know what Italian wines are.
However, the fact that Chinese distributors are changing their approach to foreign wineries, becoming more and more interested in cooperating with them on branding (which means they want to co-own the brand to better promote in in their country), may open new opportunities to Italian labels. Or at least to those that will prove interested in adopting this new business model.
As reminded by the Hong Kong daily, “Italy lacks the brand recognition and association with luxury, history and quality enjoyed by Bordeaux in China.” But here is where the Prosecco could help! With bubbles becoming more and more popular in China, Prosecco could be the perfect compromise for those interested in good taste at competitive prices.