China wine imports rebound in 2015, shows data


Fresh figures show that China’s wine import market has rebounded strongly in volume and value in the first nine months of 2015, driven by French and Australian wines.

Bottled wine imports rose by 38.7% in volume to 297.7m litres and by 34.7% in value to $1.4bn, shows newly released Chinese customs data. Figures are for the nine months to the end of September, versus the same period of last year.

The figures offer more evidence that China’s wine market has started to recover from overstocking and a government anti-austerity drive, with sales increasingly fuelled by a larger and younger consumer base looking for more affordable options. China imported the same amount of French wines in the third quarter of the year as it did in the whole first six months of 2015.

Higher imports of French wines in the third quarter means the country is up by 36.1% in volume (126.8m litres) and 34% in value ($623m) during the first nine months of 2015.

Imports of Australian wine increased by 83.6% in value and 58.7% in volume, showing a greater ability to achieve higher average prices.

Australian wine has an average import price of $7.71 per litre in China, ahead of its nine closest competitors in the market (see above). Australia accounted for 14% of China’s total wine import volume but 23% of the total value in the nine months.

But, France still dominates overall, accounting for 43% of China’s wine imports in volume and 45% in value (see below).

Bottled Spanish wines overtook Chile to come third in imported volume, up by 53.8% year-on-year, though Spain suffered a 27.8% drop in average price. Spanish bottled wines were the cheapest ($2.07 per litre) among China’s major sources of imported wines.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) signed in May 2015 defines that China will gradually reduce and finally wave its import tariffs on Australian wines by 2019. The agreement is expected to provide further 'boost for Australian wine companies exporting to China,' Willa Yang, head of trade body Wine Australia in China, told

'China is now Australia’s third most valuable export market for wine,' said Yang. 'In the 12 months to 30 September, more than a third of those exports (to China) are in the higher price points above A$10 ($7.22), reflecting an appetite for Australian fine wine.'

China’s bulk wine imports doubled in volume during the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, hitting 97.9m litres. The value of bulk imports rose by 50.9% to reach $68.2m, meaning the average price dropped from $0.92 per litre to $0.70 per litre.

Sparkling wine imports dropped by 7.2% in volume and 27.5% in value, leading to a 21.9% drop in average price.

(Edited by Chris Mercer. Updated on 20th November.)

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