Business / Industries

Ancient French wine brotherhood honors Chinese museum founder

By Liu Jia in Bordeaux, France ( Updated: 2016-01-27 16:23

Statistics collected by the Bordeaux agency show more than 40 percent of wine imported to China last year was French (by volume), among which Bordeaux made up 75 percent.

Laurent Chu, commercial counselor in charge of the China market at Gironde province (Bordeaux) chamber of agriculture said more than 70 percent of industries in the region are related to wine production.

"The wine sector is the dominant industry in the Bordeaux region," according to Chu, who said Li's museum plays a significant role assisting Bordeaux wine to expand market in China.

Li has also set up a winery investment fund with an initial investment of 10 million euros. The winery purchased in Bordeaux is renovated into a zero-emission cellar equipped with a renewable energy system.

"There will be a launch ceremony in coming weeks," Li said. "Many government and business representatives will join our celebration, including the French agriculture minister.

"Our goal is not only to buy wine or a winery, but also to learn, respect, inherit and promote the tradition and culture of wine production," he added.

As a young entrepreneur born in the 1980s, Li looks forward to bringing more "positive energy "to bilateral commercial cooperation. "Another aim is to promote the free trade between China and Europe," he said.

Chateau said local businesses are encouraged by the continuously growing market in China.

"The Chinese market is open, but the import duty is still very high. We expect to work with the French government and the European Union to help us have the imported wine tariff reduced."

Benefiting from the Sino-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which came into effect in December, the import tariff for Australian wine to China will reduce to zero by 2019 from 34.7 percent prior to the agreement.

Li told French wine stakeholders the demand from the consumers working in politics, governments and state-owned enterprises has shrunk heavily thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign.

"Wine consumption led by the rising middle class of the country is increasing," he said.

According to Li, there is still huge potential in the Chinese market despite the economy facing difficulties in the past year.

He believes the French wine sector and farming industries will benefit a lot if an EU-China FTA can be reached.

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