Hong Kong is one of Australia’s important markets for premium wine, with the vintages being recognized for their consistent quality and unique identity. The consumers have diversified tastes in wine, but dry red still holds the biggest share in the market.
In all of China, red wine accounts for 95% of export from Australia. The most popular varietals are Shiraz and Pinot Noir. White wine, however, is still well represented in the market. Chardonnay and Riesling are well liked by the younger consumers.
In Hong Kong, the major drivers in the retail market are the younger generations. These consumers are adventurous and constantly on the lookout for new trends. Due to frequent overseas travel, they are more exposed to wine culture, wine styles and types.
Local Presence in Hong Kong’s Wine Market
For many consumers in Hong Kong, it is still convenient to visit physical stores for their shopping. Wines are readily available in off-trade channels like supermarkets and convenience stores. Competition is fierce as the market is saturated with products from different countries.
Though Hong Kong has traditionally lagged behind other Asian countries in terms of e-commerce, the landscape has changed over the years. Consumers began appreciating the convenience of shopping online. Retailers aspire to provide more improved and interactive shopping experiences to their clients.
For many producers, hiring a committed agent to handle the business at a local level is a must. This allows them to build their businesses and not just focus on the product itself. A local importer has specialized knowledge of the Hong Kong wine market and may even help producers engage in direct or indirect trade with Mainland China.
Tariffs, Regulations and Customs
Hong Kong is a free port with no general tariff on imported goods. There are only four commodities charged with excise duties – liquors (with an alcoholic strength of more than 30%), tobacco, hydrocarbon oil and methyl alcohol. There is zero duty for imported wine. The region is the first free wine port among major economies, with no value-added tax (VAT) or goods and services tax (GST).
As a rule, wine producers are required to submit an export declaration with the Commissioner of Customs and Excise within 14 days after shipment of goods. They must also follow the control importation measures set by the Hong Kong Customs. Other regulations include the Preservatives in Food Regulation 2008, Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations and the Food Safety Ordinance.
Hong Kong is a significant market for Australian wine, as well as an ideal platform for companies to establish a reputation in Mainland China. The region’s low trade barriers make it accessible to international goods, but this makes the market highly competitive. Following the local standards and regulations is important to give producers the edge they need to stand out.