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Alcohol sales feast on holiday cheer

By ZHU WENQIAN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-17 07:33
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A bartender serves a cocktail using Kweichow Moutai as an ingredient at La Liste ceremony in Paris, France, on Nov 20. GAO JING/XINHUA

China's alcohol market has been cheered by its sales during the Spring Festival holiday, fueled by demand from a wide range of occasions such as gift exchanges and banquets among families and friends.

As a traditional must-buy for the Chinese New Year, baijiu, a white domestic spirit, along with imported wines and liquors have been sought after by consumers on e-commerce platforms.

For Kweichow Moutai, China's iconic high-end baijiu, and Sichuan-based liquor brand Wuliangye, online platforms said they have prepared abundant stock to satisfy growing demand during the holiday.

"Young Chinese, especially Generation Z consumers (those born after 1995 and into the 2000s), tend to save on things that they regard as unnecessary to splurge and spend as they like on things that they think are worth it," said Zhang Peng, head of food and fresh produce at Alibaba's Taobao and Tmall Group.

Meanwhile, Kweichow Moutai, from Maotai town in Guizhou province, has continued its pace of global expansion this year.

In January, Moutai participated in the Davos forum in Switzerland for the first time. The company also promoted the brand and carried out a series of cultural activities in European countries such as Switzerland and Italy.

"The progress of time has raised requirements for enterprises, and it will push enterprises to innovate business models and improve technologies. Companies may obtain greater benefits by continuously enhancing their abilities and driving sustainable development," said Wang Li, general manager of Moutai.

As Chinese brands expand their global business, foreign spirits such as whiskey, brandy and vodka have seen new trends in domestic production. A number of Chinese companies have made more efforts in developing domestically produced whiskey, and some foreign brands have set up distilleries in China.

For instance, Tsing Tao single malt Chinese whiskey, which was launched in June, sells for 299 yuan ($42) for a 700 ml bottle of the brand's main product. Its taste, which tends to be gentler, is closer to the preferences of Chinese consumers.

"Unlike the way imported whiskey brands expand in the domestic market, online sales currently account for 40 percent of our business, and prices of the products have been the same online and offline," said Zhang Shousheng, director of the Tsing Tao alcohol flagship store on Tmall, Alibaba's e-commerce platform.

"As a domestic whiskey that is expanding brand awareness and recognition, online operations are indispensable for us. Since we opened the online store on Tmall in September, sales have surged more than 100 percent month-on-month,"Zhang said.

For this kind of whiskey, 90 percent of consumers are males and most are aged between 31 and 35.Most consumers come from Shandong and Guangdong provinces, Zhang added.

Taking the conventional 700 ml per bottle packaging of whiskey in the market as an example, the average price of domestic whiskey stands at 242.2 yuan per bottle, about one-fifth of the price of imported whiskey of the same specification.

Among the top 10 domestic cities for the highest whiskey consumption, nine are in southern China, data from e-commerce platform Taobao showed.

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