Chinese-owned businesses in Australia squeezed on both sides as tensions take toll

When Kilikanoon Winery in the Clare Valley was purchased three years ago by Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine Co., China’s largest wine producer, the business appeared to have benefitted from an export advantage, according to the Wall Street Journal.

WSJ reports that this year, Kilikanoon Winery hasn’t sold a single bottle to China, which could be due to the worsening diplomatic and trade dispute that has choked off exports of Australian wine to China.

The trade tensions have accelerated a decline in Chinese investment into Australia and squeezed China-owned businesses in the country from both sides, as they grapple with the loss of one of their most profitable markets on the one hand and a gathering backlash from Australian consumers who mostly blame Beijing for the standoff on the other.

As Kilikanoon scrambled to bring back a consignment of 50,000 litres of Australian wine destined for China after the tariffs were imposed late last year, a call to boycott the winery and 40 other Chinese-owned Australian vineyards began spreading on social media locally. Travis Fuller, Kilikanoon’s general manager, said more than 10% of its wine club membership quit as a result of the campaign, hurting its sales locally.


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