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Moutai opens up window in bid to expand into African continent

By Pan Zhongming | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-22 07:23

State reception must-have brand begins Belt and Road promo tour in Cape Town

Chinese liquor brand Moutai is gaining popularity in Cape Town, South Africa, as China Kweichow Moutai Distillery (Group) launched a brand promotion initiative in the port city.

The move reflects Moutai Group's accelerated global strategy, pushing forward the sustained and steady development of its overseas markets.

"This is the first time the company has taken steps to enter the African market," said Li Baofang, general manager of the group. "We chose Cape Town as the gateway for Moutai to enter the African continent, as the city in South Africa holds a strategic position among countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative."

Moutai opens up window in bid to expand into African continent

This is the first time that the Chinese giant has launched this type of market expansion activity in the continent, even though some African retailers were selling Moutai on a small scale previously.

"Cape Town is the first leg of our serial brand cultural promotions of the Belt and Road branding trip," Li said. "This is because South Africa has a sound cooperation foundation as a BRICS country and Cape Town has a long history of wine culture."

More than 6,000 years ago, the Chinese invented grain liquor, Africa invented beer and the ancient Babylonians invented wine, making these regions the three birthplaces of liquor, beer and wine culture in the world, Li said at the promotion event.

Ever since China proposed its Belt and Road Initiative, China's Moutai has taken determined steps across the world map and launched a "whirlwind" across the world, showing increasingly strong expansion momentum.

"China and Africa are like close brothers and sisters, so the distance will not keep us apart. Even in ancient times, when we lacked direct contact, we were stars shining far from each other," Li said. "As two vital and important economies, we have vigorously promoted the sustained growth of the world economy."

Kang Yong, consul-general of the Chinese consulate in Cape Town, recalled many stories about Moutai on diplomatic occasions.

The company's statistics show sales in the 26 countries along the Belt and Road Initiative account for 26.53 percent of its global sales.

Among them, the African market accounts for only 1 percent, indicating great potential for growth.

"The Moutai company is so smart that now they want to use the fast track of the Belt and Road by coming to Cape Town. They want the Capetonians to be the first to taste the wonders of Moutai, and then people from the whole of Africa, with Cape Town as the gateway to spreading Moutai all over the African continent," Kang said.

The promotion event was warmly welcomed by local officials and communities.

"Moutai's entry into the market will help people in South Africa to understand more about Chinese culture," said Marlene le Roux, CEO of Artscape, a Cape Town arts & culture center. "The entrepreneurs present today need to learn about Chinese culture and the Chinese way of life which are closely related to Moutai."

Speaking on behalf of the mayor of Cape Town, City Councillor Suzette Little said, "Moutai brings its culture to Cape Town, and like-minded people with the same vision and same hope see an economic opportunity that crosses the borders of culture and the differences of diversity."

At the event, Zhao Shuyue, board member of Moutai Group, announced the Proposal for Africa - China Enterprises Belt and Road Common Development Alliance.

The branding initiative will also take the Moutai delegation to Namibia and Mozambique.

Moutai opens up window in bid to expand into African continent

(China Daily 11/22/2017 page12)

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