Wine to China
Trends and opportunities
China is the world’s third largest market for imported wine behind the
United States and Germany.
Following several years of weak sales growth following a clampdown on
corruption, a consumption-led recovery has seen sales volumes recover
substantially since 2015.
Australia is China’s second largest supplier behind France. Australian
exports have performed strongly since the conclusion of the China Australia
Free Trade Agreement in December 2015.
Exports to China in FY 2016-17 were valued at A$543 million, a 38 per
cent increase over the previous year. During the same period, one out of
every four glasses of imported wine consumed in China was from Australia
(Source: UN Comtrade).
Trends and Opportunities
Chinese middle class consumers are the main market for higher value
Australian wines. Their importance lies in their long-term, stable
purchasing power, brand awareness and as opinion leaders.
Wine benefits from a market perception as being both sophisticated and
healthy– particularly as a substitute for hard liquor when consumed at
weddings and business functions. Consumption habits differ from region to
region. Generally speaking, consumers in north China prefer full-bodied and
higher alcohol content wines, while in south China lighter wines are
Red varieties continue to dominate both sales and exports. More than 96 per
cent of Australian table wine exported to China is red. Consumers in
coastal areas have a better palate for white wines to complement seafood
consumption. Total imports of sparkling wine declined between 2015 and
Two-thirds of wine in China is purchased on premise. In addition to fine
dining restaurants, premium imported wine is consumed in banquet halls,
hotels, VIP clubs and company canteens.
Shanghai has approximately 300 wine bars which feature extensive lists of
imported wine. Most second and third tier cities have networks of informal
wine clubs centred on the wines marketed by key local distributors.
Off trade channels include wine sold through social acquaintances, wine
stores, wine clubs, online retail and supermarkets. The best supermarket
sales for imported wines are priced between RMB60-180.
Online sales are popular among sophisticated wine consumers, especially for
well-known brands. Austrade estimates the online retail value of Australian
wine to exceed $67 million in 2016.
WeChat is a social media platforms used to promote and sell bottled wine.
Other major online platforms for wines and spirits include:
Competition is strong across all channels in China’s first tier cities
(Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen). By comparison, China’s smaller
and regional cities offer more untapped opportunities.
Successful wineries demonstrate patience and professional service
(particularly through the hiring of a local business development manager to
support appointed distributors), while building brand awareness and a long
term strategy to develop the market with their Chinese partners.
Further useful information and events on marketing Australian wine in China
can be found on the
Tariffs, regulations and customs
Before considering any market entry strategy, an exporter is strongly
advised to register their trademark in China. IP Australia has published a
report on IP protection in China which can be downloaded
The China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) came into effect on 20
December 2015, and the existing tariffs on wine of 14 to 20 per cent will
be eliminated by 1 January 2019.
Value added tax and consumption tax also applies to the sale of wine in
For a full explanation of China’s import regulations, please visit
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:
- develop international markets
- win productive foreign direct investment
- promote international education
- strengthen Australia's tourism industry
- seek consular and passport services.
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.
For more information on how Austrade can assist you
Call 13 28 78
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