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South African wine targets Hong Kong and mainland for 2013 marketing push

Photo: South African wines: aiming to be the toast of Asia. (Courtesy of WOSA)
South African wines: aiming to be the toast of Asia.

South Africa has announced plans to up its share of the burgeoning Asian wine market through a robust marketing campaign running throughout the last six months of 2013. The country, currently ranked as the world's eighth largest wine producer, is targeting three tier one cities on the Chinese mainland – Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou – as well as Hong Kong, as part of a campaign co-ordinated by Wines of South Africa (WOSA), the industry body responsible for promoting exports in the sector.

Despite producing some 4% of the world's wine, South African imports currently only account for around 3.3% of the mainland market. This takes into account an 18% growth in sales to China during 2012. The figures in Hong Kong are even more disappointing, with the country only representing some 1% of imports to Asia's acknowledged wine hub.

WOSA will be focussing on increasing the variety of South African wines available in Hong Kong and on the mainland, with importer feedback currently indicating a significant shortfall in this department. At present, the country's exports are largely competing with similarly-priced Australian and Chilean wines for market share.

As an opening salvo in its bid to increase its penetration into the Asian market – a market predicted to account for some 53% of the increase in global wine consumption by 2015 – WOSA has launched a Mandarin version of its website (http://www.wosa.co.za/china/) as an information portal for importers and the media. This initiative will be backed by a social media campaign via Weibo, the mainland's most popular microblogging site. It will also be exhibiting at the HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair and Shanghai's ProWine China.

According to WOSA, South Africa exported 417 million litres of wine in 2012. This was 10 million litres more than the 2008 record of 407 million litres and 17% increase on volumes in 2011.

Commenting on this upturn in the country's winemaking fortunes, Sue Birch, WOSA's Chief Executive, said: "These record levels are the result of a more favourable currency regime, as well as the global shortage of wines, stemming from a significant drop in the recent harvests of competing wine-producing nations in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand."

Figures released by South African Wine Industry & Information Systems (SAWIS) indicate that the 2013 wine grape crop should amount to nearly 1.4 million tonnes, making it the third biggest in recorded history.

from Conrad Hendry, Johannesburg Consultant

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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