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China thirsts for Australian wine and travel experiences

Sales of Australian wine to China increased by 8% last year, coinciding with a jump in Chinese tourist numbers to over 300,000 in 2006 while China maintains its mantle as Australia’s second biggest export market after Japan.

Austrade’s Shanghai-based Senior Trade Commissioner Christopher Wright said Australia’s wine regions are fast becoming a destination of choice to visit for Chinese tourists.

“The great Australian wine experience doesn’t stop when the Chinese visitors return to their homeland – they’re seeking to buy wine back home in China,” Mr Wright said.

“In the land of endless toasting and banqueting, Australian wines are increasingly becoming the wine of choice in China.

“A new business network, set up by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) and Austrade called the new China-Australia Wine Importer Network, otherwise known as CAWIN has been set up in recognition of the surge of interest in Australian wines in China.

“The range of Australian bottled wine available for sale in China and the number and diversity of Australian suppliers seeking Chinese partners and buyers is growing every day,” he said.

The AWBC have prioritised China as a key emerging market for Australian wine exports. The AWBC’s Regional Manager of Emerging Markets, Ali Hogarth said they’ve launched a range of unique initiatives in China including online wine education and a new scholarship program for selected Chinese wine students.

“Ready access for businesses and consumers in China to Australian wine educational and promotions is extremely important for the continued growth and success of our wine trading relationship with this market,” Ms Hogarth said.

The AWBC’s “Chinese World Class” free on-line wine education program in Chinese language is designed for visitors to explore and uncover the key issues involved in the making, marketing and enjoyment of wine.

Austrade’s Chief Economist Tim Harcourt said the healthy image of wine will be one of the key driving factors for the generous growth predictions for the sale of wine in China.

“Rising purchasing power, backed by robust economic growth and further developments in China’s hard and soft trade infrastructure are factors fuelling the growth engine for wine,” Mr Harcourt said.

The Australia Government’s inward investment agency, Invest Australia's Senior Investment Commissioner for Greater China, Henry Wang notes that Australia's local wine industry is world-class.

"Chinese business people have taken a keen interest in Australian wine with a particular interest in trade deals in both bottled and bulk wine,” Mr Wang said.

“Australia's many niche wineries in picturesque locations produce a diverse range of wines and offer investors the opportunity to produce their own label and to offer a total package including export.

"Australian wine is particularly attractive in Hong Kong given that the wine duty has been reduced this year from 80% to 40%, stimulating demand for higher priced wines producers such as Australia,” he said.

Austrade is planning a strong Australian national presence at this year’s FHC China 2007 trade show which will be held in Shanghai during 14–16 November 2007. For more information visit http://www.fhcchina.com

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