Fascinating story in the Wall Street Journal this morning about how Western luxury goods brands are preparing to welcome the arrival of the Year of the Snake on Sunday. No surprises there, as Chinese tourists to Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong spend an everage of $15K each.
“Johnnie Walker promotes the holiday with gift packs in red packaging with a tumbler for impromptu toasts and bottles of Red Label and Blue Label whiskeys. This year, it has unveiled a set of 12 Blue Label bottles, each decorated with a different zodiac animal etched with gold onto the glass. It has produced only 88 sets (8 is an auspicious number), each priced at $4,800 and only available at its members-only Shanghai clubhouse, Johnnie Walker Mansion. More than half of the sets were sold within two weeks of its January launch.”
Clearly any SA spirit brand that takes itself seriously cannot ignore China. The Cape to Canton Chinese New Year festival at the Vineyard Hotel & Spa in Newlands on Sunday features Bisquit Cognac and a range of fine brandies from Distell, so someone is on the ball.
For the rest, 10 reasons why looking East makes sense:
1 China is the most populous nation on earth with a millennias old tradition of drinking wine and spirits.
2 The Chinese economy has outperformed the West for a generation and shows no sign of slacking off.
3 750,000 Chinese traders dominate the African retail sector.
4 Annual trade between China and Africa surpasses $166 billion.
5 Chinese trade with southern Africa dates back to the Song Dynasty (1200) which predates trade with Europe.
6 South Africa is home to more than 100,000 people of Chinese descent and this number is increasing rapidly.
7 China is already the #3 supplier of tourists to SA.
8 Chinese cuisine is one of the world’s great gastronomic traditions and its versatility is well suited to the diversity of the SA cellar.
9 Chinese consumers are great seekers after luxury and appreciate the finer things of life, like SA icon wines and brandies.
10 The Chinese market, both domestic and export, has been seriously ignored by SA marketers and all but a handful of producers in favour of easier markets like Europe and the USA.
Reason No 11: Mr Chow is hung like basketball player.