Sotheby’s Auction House has opened a wine store in Hong Kong to tap into the Chinese wine market.
The new retail outlet in Hong Kong’s Central business district is the company’s second location. The other location, which opened in 2010, is in Sotheby’s New York headquarters.
Sotheby’s has sold HK$1.4 billion (US$184 million) worth of wine over the last four years at auction in Hong Kong. Combined with a global wine surplus and a weaker demand for wine in major economies, China and other emerging markets are being heavily targeted to boost revenue, reports Reuters.
According to Bloomberg, Hong Kong is now the world’s largest wine auction market due to the spending power of Chinese buyers and the abolishment of import duties on wine in 2008. Hong Kong also has no retail taxes.
“Asia is driving the wine market globally and Hong Kong is obviously the hub,” Robert Sleigh, the head of Sotheby’s Asian wine operations, told Bloomberg.
Wine auctions in Hong Kong last year accounted for approximately 43 percent of the auction house’s global auction sales of $57.9 million.
The success of wine auctions in Hong Kong is no surprise. Last year, China became the world’s largest red wine consumer, surpassing both France and Italy. In fact, Chinese oenophiles drank 155 million cases, or 1.87 billion bottles, of red wine in 2013, a 136 percent increase from five years ago. France and Italy drank 150 and 141 million cases last year respectively.
Sotheby’s has 700 different wines for sale at its Hong Kong location and online in a variety of price ranges. The low end of the range includes wines such as Barreyre 2010 and Maucamps 2009 priced at HK$148 (US$19) and HK$250 respectively. The high-end wines sell for much higher, including Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Romanee-Conti 2002 and a 12-liter Haut-Brion 2000, which are priced at HK$159,000 and HK$280,000 (US$36,124) respectively.
image credit: sothebyswine.com.hk