Emerging markets ranging from Indonesia to Nigeria showed promise, as the 15th HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair returned to its traditional November slot.
Several regions stood out, including Korea, Mainland China and Taiwan, as well as Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, markets which show healthy potential for development. The return of global buyers to the annual event underlines Hong Kong’s status as a key trade and distribution hub for wine in the region.
The fair drew some 7,000 buyers from 49 countries and regions. On the final day, which was open to the public, around 9,000 wine enthusiasts attended masterclasses, wine tastings and seminars.
The fair attracted renowned importers and wholesalers to retailers and e-tailers. These include JD.com, Inc (Mainland China), PT. Pantja Artha Niaga (Indonesia), African + Eastern (UAE), Red Apron Fine Wines & Spirits (Vietnam), Grupo Alpom (Spain), Víno.sk s.r.o (Slovakia) and Global Wine and Spirits (Kazakhstan).
With the rise in popularity of Chinese wines, the fair featured products from Sichuan, Ningxia and Xinjiang, offering more options for buyers. The HKTDC also held various seminars, at which industry professionals explored the latest opportunities in the Chinese wine market.
With more wine produced by greener means amid the increasing importance of sustainable development in the global wine industry, the fair showcased organic wines, creating a sparkling new wave of purchasing trends.
Eric Fung, Director (Hong Kong) of Japanese exhibitor Flavour of Life G.K., was pleased by the significant number of international buyers, with many from Southeast Asia, a high-potential market for sake.
“We have also had buyers from Africa, particularly Nigeria, which is an extremely promising market. If it weren't for participating in this event, we would not have had the opportunity to connect with them," Mr Fung stated. His firm had established about 25 new connections at the fair, with two or three being high-potential buyers.
Gary Lee, Business Development Director of San Sesan Global Pte Ltd, a buyer from Singapore, said his firm’s primary objective at the event was to source vegan and alcohol-free wines, with a specific focus on products from Spain and Germany. He welcomed the Click2Match platform, which facilitated meeting scheduling and record-keeping. He identified several exhibitors with significant potential and was likely to place orders with two of them. Deals were typically valued at about US$300,000.
Virginia Cikhita, CEO of Project X and a buyer from Indonesia, visited the fair to source fine wines and accompaniments. She said: “We have a great opportunity to order from a Hong Kong exhibitor at least 2,000 bottles of black truffle sauce imported from Finland. We also hope to buy custom water bottles from a Taiwanese exhibitor as well as at least 3,000 boxes of hangover prevention pills.” She was pleased with the services, including providing e-badges for buyers, the Click2Match platform, and new Scan2Match offline-to-online platform.
The fair featured 36 events, including the seminar Baijiu Journey: Savouring the Flavours of China and two Wine Industry Conferences, one of which featured the sole Chinese Master Sommelier in the world, Lu Yang, discussing wine market opportunities in China and Asia.