Vinitaly International is in Hong Kong for the 7th consecutive year at the HK International Wine & Spirits Fair which opened today and continues through November 12th. For the first time, the business forum format, wine2wine, comes to Asia for a focus on the Chinese wine market. Before the official inaugural opening, Stevie Kim, Vinitaly International Director and Robert Joseph, Editor-at-large Meiningers, moderated the first of three breakfast seminars, “The Aftermath of 9/9: Is e-commerce the future of wine business in China?”. Exhibitors, buyers and industry professionals had the opportunity to get the viewpoint of some of China’s most dynamic leaders in e-commerce.
Davis Luan, Executive VP of YesMyWine, opened the seminar with a presentation about his experience as the number one seller in the 9/9 TMall. While 700 million RMB in sales may not seem significant, Davis spoke of the importance of TMall and his strategy to promote trade-up and a more efficient industrial integration.
Andrew Tan, GM of the Jiuku supply chain (1919.cn business model), highlighted the importance of an effective logistics system in the successful on-line/off-line business, 1919. With an average of just 60 square meters of retail space with 600-700 wine labels, 1919 can deliver a bottle of wine, chilled, within 90 minutes in 400 cities throughout China. Today, they are present with over 900 stores, in 38 cities distributed throughout 31 provinces. The projected growth for 1919.com is exponential, with 6,000 stores to be opened by 2019.
Li Meng CEO of the B2B e-commerce platform waiju.com is selling an astounding 10 million RMB of wine B2B daily. He spoke of an information asymmetry between wine professionals and consumers and how better B2B on-line ecosystems can help close the gap.
Yanni Wu, COO Penguin Guide, closed the first seminar with an interesting take on the boutique platform concept. Consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed by choice. Boutique platforms serving a niche clientele, are working successfully with the underlying philosophy, “less is more”.
A networking breakfast followed the seminar, where participants had the chance to ask the speakers questions and exchange ideas. For those not in Hong Kong, all the seminars are aired live on Facebook @vinitalyinternational. The speaker’s presentations can be viewed on SlideShare (http://www.slideshare.net/VinitalyInternational/) and are also posted on WeChat.
A content packed morning was followed by the inaugural ceremony for the fair opening, officiated by Honorary Secretary, Gregory So, GBS, JP Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Bureau and Philip Yung, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. During the inauguration, Benjamin Chau, Acting Executive Director, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), explained that among the factors of success of the fair, now in its 9th year, are “Zero duties on Hong Kong wine imports since 2008.” In fact, according to the HKTDC figures, since the elimination of duties, the value of Hong Kong’s wine imports rose from 1.6 billion HKD in 2007 to 10.8 billion HKD in 2015, and a positive trend continues in 2016. In the first 9 months of 2016, Hong Kong’s wine imports have reached 9.1 million HKD, up 22% over last year.