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China's wine sales fall, dealers still upbeat

2014-02-22 11:46 Xinhua Web Editor: qindexing

Wine consumption in China, after almost one decade of robust annual growth at around 25 percent, fell for the first time in 2013, China Daily reported Saturday.

The decline was 2 percent from the previous year, reported the newspaper, citing the latest study on global wine and spirits market jointly conducted by the world's leading wine and spirits exhibition Vinexpo and the London-based International Wine and Spirit Research.

The falling sales didn't dent the confidence of the global wine industry in the Chinese market, potentially the world's largest, the study showed. China is now the fifth-largest buyer of red, white, rose and sparking wine.

Xavier de Eizaguirre, chairman of the Bordeaux-based Vinexpo, attributed the declining sales partially to the Chinese government's fight against corruption since the end of 2012, which strictly prohibits fine dining and presenting gifts paid for with public money.

However, Eizaguirre "strong believes" the Chinese market will take off again over the coming five years despite the government's austerity measures, because "what drives an emerging market is the middle class," the newspaper reported.

In 2013, China bought 171 million nine-liter cases of wine, more than 80 percent of which was produced at home.

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