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Hong Kong Now World’s #1 Wine Auction Market, Surpassing London & New York

Sotheby’s Fine Wine Auctions Sell $8 Million Over The Weekend As Chinese Collectors Dominate In Hong Kong

Hong Kong is now the world's top wine auction market, having surpassed London and New York

Hong Kong is now the world's top wine auction market, having surpassed London and New York

This weekend, Sotheby’s began a five-day string of auctions in Hong Kong — continuing until October 8 — with auctions of fine wine from the cellars of two anonymous American collectors. Though one of the world’s newest hubs for wine, due to a combination of ending wine duties, encouraging mainland buyers to take part in wine auctions, and growing demand both in Hong Kong and in mainland China, Hong Kong has within a few short years become the world’s #1 auction market for wine, overtaking traditional¬†leaders London and New York. From James Pomfret in Reuters:

“Asian buyers represented 99 percent of buyers in this two-day sale,” said the head of Sotheby’s international wine department Serena Sutcliffe. “Hong Kong has become Sotheby’s most important wine center, ahead of very successful auctions in New York and London,” she added in a statement.

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Companies Promoting “Wine Tourism” For Chinese Oenophiles

French Wine Producers And Chinese Travel Agencies Teaming Up To Promote Wine Tourism In France

The wine market has grown rapidly in China, and wine tourism operators hope to entice the country's oenophiles with trips to French vineyards in coming years

The wine market has grown rapidly in China, and wine tourism operators hope to entice the country's oenophiles with trips to French vineyards in coming years

Last month, we posted on the Sotheby’s auction of fine wines in Hong Kong, at which 100% of the bottles up for grabs sold, mostly to local Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese buyers. Over the past few years, as wine drinking has grown in popularity in China and the buyer base has grown accordingly, vineyards from around the globe have intensified their efforts to crack this vast yet still niche-oriented market.

While these vintners’ dreams may still be a bit naive in terms of the macro-level Chinese market — as BusinessWeek reflects with a quote by a Californian winery owner, “If we sold a bottle of wine to every Chinese millionaire, we’d run out of wine before we ran out of millionaires!” — it is a fact that Chinese buyers of fine wines are quickly joining the ranks of other global buyers, and companies from travel agencies to vineyards are keen to get in on this burgeoning business.

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Luxury Brands Look To Shoppers In China For Cushion In Crisis

Gucci and Ferragamo Join Burberry In Opening New China Locations In ’09

Ferragamo in Shanghai: The Luxury brand hopes to add 7-8 locations in China this year

Ferragamo in Shanghai: The Luxury brand hopes to add 7-8 locations in China this year. Photo © Time

The Mercury News reports today on hopes by luxury retailers that well-heeled Chinese shoppers, who have cut back less than their Western and Japanese counterparts, can buoy the luxury goods market enough to get them through the economic downturn. While China itself has been hit hard by the global economic downturn — particularly in its manufacturing and export sectors — a series of domestic stimulus packages and efforts to bolster consumer confidence have begun in earnest to take effect (as we have written before). Although a broader recovery, especially in the more rural or far-flung areas, will take some time, in China’s metropolitan centers like Beijing and Shanghai, the wealthy and upper-middle-class have continued to shop. And for that, luxury brands from around the world are looking at this consumer class as one of their few bright spots in the global economy.

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