Benefiting from exemption of wine customs tax, for the first eight months this year, Hong Kong's total wine imports amounted to 6.7 billion Hong Kong dollars (0.86 billion U.S. dollars), up 65 percent from a year ago, said the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) here on Monday.
After the lifting of wine customs tax in Hong Kong since 2008, wine-related business has been witnessing a robust development, with great opportunities found for local wine trading and related sectors, said Benjamin Chau, deputy executive director of HKTDC, at a press conference held in the day.
Statistics showed that wine import to Hong Kong, which just amounted to 2.9 billion HK dollars in 2008, jumped to seven billion HK dollars in 2010, a growth of over 140 percent in the three-year span.
Meanwhile, after overtaking New York to become the world's largest wine auction center last year, Hong Kong's transaction amount of wine auctions for the first half of 2011 reached 250 million HK dollars, larger than the total transaction amount for New York and London combined for the same period.
"Hong Kong's customs elimination measures, together with the strong demand for wine in Asia, has resulted in Hong Kong's becoming the business hub for world's wine producers, old and new, in order to en route to the various major markets with huge growth potential," Chau said.
In 2010, the wine consumption in Asia was over 128 billion HK dollars, and is expected to leap by over 150 percent to 330 billion HK dollars by 2015, in which, Chinese mainland, a promising market expanding at a faster pace, may record for 304 billion HK dollars' wine consumption from 107.6 billion HK dollars in 2010.
Hong Kong, as a gateway to the mainland, surely would play an important role in the future development of the mainland wine market, added Chau.
In the press conference, Chau also introduced the coming international wine fair, which is to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Nov. 3-5, inviting about 930 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions, up 37 percent from last year.
Italy, acting as "partner country" at the fair, has the biggest group pavilion this year, with over 200 exhibitors. Apart from exhibitors from "traditional" wine product countries like France, Spain, and Australia, some "new faces" from Georgia, Israel, Latvia and Malta would also show up at the fair. (1 U.S. dollar is equivalent to 7.78 HK dollars)