China overtakes UK as fifth largest wine consumer

By He Shan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 17, 2012
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An array of bottles of wine is displayed at an exhibition in Beijing. [CFP]

China consumed 1.9 billion bottles of wine in 2011, leapfrogging the U.K. to become the world's fifth largest wine consumer, according to the latest data released by trade show organizer Vinexpo and International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR).

China was also the sixth largest wine producer and eighth largest wine importer in the world, the data showed.

The Americans took the crown as the top wine drinkers with an equivalent of 3.735 billion bottles of wine in 2011, followed by Italy, France and Germany.

Europeans occupied 62 percent of the global consumption, but the growth rate is expected to be only 0.4 percent between 2011 and 2015. For the same period, the U.S. market's growth will be 10 percent while the China market a staggering 54.3 percent, according to predictions of the IWSR.

The Chinese wine market, which covers Hong Kong, grew a combined 240 percent over the last five years, and the increase between 2009 and 2010 registered a 33.4 percent.

"China will be the fastest growing market over the next four years," IWSR CEO Robert Beynat said. The IWSR study predicts that the global wine consumption will grow 6.2 percent annually to reach 34.1 billion bottles from 2010 to 2015.

The study was based on annual figures from 114 consumer markets and 28 wine-producing countries.

China's business press carried the story above on Tuesday.

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