Wine to Taiwan

Trends and opportunities

The market

With a population of over 23 million, Taiwan is amongst the top wine-consuming markets in Asia. Wine imports into Taiwan continue to increase in 2015, valued at A$205.9 million. One of the factors driving growth is the rise of more young urban dwellers and white collar workers enjoying wines and attending wine classes to gain greater wine knowledge.

Australia has overtaken Spain to become to the fifth largest wine supplier to Taiwan in 2015, with exports from Australia valued at over A$17 million in 2015, an increase of around 20 per cent from 2014.

New World wine, such as from Australia and Chile, are seeing better growth than Old World wine in 2015, as consumers increasingly become more price conscious. There were several wine scandals in 2015, so more consumers are paying more attention to quality with less artificial substances. Reputation is very important as award-winning wines and wineries tend to be a popular choice (Source: Euromonitor, Wine in Taiwan, June 2016; International Trade Centre, Trade Map Search, October 2016; Accidental Travel Writer, Hong Kong: Wine Consumption Soars 200% in Five Years! 13 March 2012).

Opportunities

Multiple opportunities exist for Australian wine growers:

  • Although red wine continues to dominate the market, rose and sparkling wines are becoming more popular. An emerging group of wine consumers among young urban dwellers and women are ready to broaden their wine knowledge and taste.
  • Drinking habits are changing: most new consumers have yet to develop a fixed preference for the source of wine.
  • Increase in mid-range priced wines (Retail price of A$20 - $30).

Competitive environment

France continues to dominate the market, with a 52.9 per cent share. However, Australia remains one of the largest suppliers of wine in Taiwan, accounting for about 6.9 per cent market share of Taiwan’s imported wine market in 2015 (after France, US, Italy and Chile).

France dominates the ultra-premium price segment, with a strong demand for French wine from Bordeaux and Burgundy amongst more affluent consumers. Wine publications also provide key support for French wine producers, with consumer drinking preferences and habits being heavily influenced by wine publications such as Wine Advocate, Decanter and Wine Spectator.

The average price of Australian wine exports to Taiwan has increased to US$5.35 per litre (A$7.06). This is considerably lower than that of exports from France at US$12.13 (A$16.00) and the US at US$11.27 (A$14.86) but higher than that of Chile at US$4.21 (A$5.55). Italy’s average price per litre is US$7.32 (A$9.65) (Source: Customs Administration, Ministry of Finance, Trade Statistic Search, October 2016).

Tariffs, regulations and customs

All imported wine must follow the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Law. Tax and tariffs imposed on imported wine is as follows:

  • alcohol tax – NT$7 for each percentage point of alcohol per litre
  • import tariff – 10 per cent for still wine and 20 per cent for sparkling wine and port.

Other re-processed alcoholic beverages, of an alcoholic strength by volume exceeding 20 per cent are subject to higher rates of tax and tariff:

  • alcohol tax – NT$185 per litre.

(Source: Taxation Administration, Ministry of Finance, Tobacco and Alcohol Tax Act, October 2016).

Industry standards

All wines exported to Taiwan need to meet the chemical standard test provided by recognised laboratories, such as the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

The wine market in Taiwan is clearly segmented and successful exporters have adjusted their product range accordingly to meet buyer and importer preferences. Every distributor has different marketing and pricing strategies and is active in different price segments.

Most wine importers in Taiwan are small importers who may only import from countries other than Australia or have yet to import Australian wines. The few large importers are well established and already possess a comprehensive Australian wine portfolio.

The market in Taiwan can be roughly classified into three segments according to price ranges:

  1. Lower-end: Free on Board (FOB) A$30 to $80 per case
  2. Middle to premium: FOB A$80 to $250 per case
  3. Ultra-premium and collectables range: FOB A$250 and above per case.

General wine body and structure preferences in Taiwan are:

  • Red is more popular than white, particularly cabernet sauvignon (and blends).
  • Full bodied and big, then medium, then light body.
  • Warm climate instead of a cooler climate, however appreciation for cool climate wines is increasing.
  • French oak is preferable to American oak.

Wine bottle and label design preference:

  • Slim or reserve taper (Italian and Bordeaux) rather than a short, light bottle.
  • Natural cork opposed to a synthetic cork / DIAM / screw cap, but acceptance of the latter is growing.
  • Metal bottle wrap rather than plastic bottle wrap.
  • Wood box, then a lay down paper case, lastly stand up paper case.

Distribution channels

Wine is distributed through importers by various means. Wines in the ultra-premium price range are mostly sold directly to consumers without going through any channels or at certain boutique wine shops. Middle and lower-priced wines are mainly distributed by wine retail shops, some premium supermarkets, restaurants and pubs.

Trade events

As the Taiwan market is not a volume-driven market, there is no major wine exhibition for business-to-business, although there are many business-to-customer wine shows targeted at final consumers. Wine seminars and tasting events are frequently held in Taiwan.

Importers from Taiwan may visit wine shows throughout the region to source wines.

Vinexpo Asia, held in Hong Kong annually, usually takes place in May. Most Taiwanese importers attend this event for an opportunity to look for new wine brands and to discuss future orders with their suppliers from various countries. The Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Fair, is an annual wine event normally held in November. This event is less attractive to Taiwanese importers, with minimal attendance from Taiwanese wine industry representatives.

Links and industry contacts

Wine Australia

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Contact details

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Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.