Hong Kong has emerged in recent years as one of the world’s fastest growing and high-yielding wine markets, following the abolition of the city’s wine taxes in 2008. Traditionally, the expatriate population and a significant number of inbound tourists make up the main consumer segments for wine consumption in Hong Kong.
An increasing number of affluent and middle-class local Chinese consumers are considering wine appreciation as part of a healthy and trendy lifestyle, resulting in a steady expansion of the Hong Kong wine market size. Gift-packed wines also appeal to mainland tourists that visit Hong Kong.
Australian wines have been making healthy inroads in Hong Kong with wine quality and wine region identity gaining increasing recognition amongst the trade and consumers. The growth of market share for Australian wines has been at the expense of French wines in the past decade. Most of the local import agents carry a wide range of wines from Australia. Australia is the second largest supplier of grape wines to Hong Kong over the past 15 years. The total volume of imports in 2013 was 8.7 million litres, representing a year-on-year growth of 17 per cent.
The Hong Kong Government abolished its wine import tariff in February 2008 with the aim to make Hong Kong a regional wine trading hub in Asia. The city has been spectacularly successful in this objective, with Hong Kong now accounting for 33.9 per cent of global rare and fine wine auctions and a booming wine storage industry. While competition among the wine trade instantly intensified, demand for higher quality wines, better wine trade services, more wine auctions, and a wider range of wine education/training/media and storage options has increased significantly year on year.
According to wine importers in Hong Kong, Australian wine exporters should position their products upward by brand building and highlighting regional identity and story behind wine labels.
The signing of a wine MOU between the Australian and Hong Kong Governments in April 2009 has further enhanced the wine trade and related services promotions between the two places. Australia is believed to have a much bigger role to play in working together with counterparts in Hong Kong to further develop Hong Kong as a regional wine trading hub in Asia with Australian expertise and partnership.