The three-day HKTDC International Wine and Spirits Fair ended on November 9 without making much impression among visitors, amid mounting competitions from trade fairs in Shanghai and ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
According to the organiser, the fair attracted 1,075 exhibitors from 30 countries and regions, and over 15,000 buyers from 70 countries and regions visited the three-day fair from November 7 to 9.
In 2018, about 20,000 buyers visited the 11th edition.
Foot traffic at the fair was slower than last year based on observations. Rumours of cancellation circulated around weeks before the fair opening and intensified after cancellation of the city’s Wine & Dine Festival which was designed to coincide with the trade show.
The fair still opened as scheduled, dispersing rumors but interest from buyers lessened as in mainland China ProWine Shanghai and first-edition of Vinexpo Shanghai planned around the same dates cornered the pool of buyers and exhibitors.
The second-day of the trade fair on November 8 was tainted by the uncomfortable fact that nearby in Central protests erupted in the afternoon after the death of Alex Chow, a protester who fell allegedly fleeing police tear gas.
This year in Hong Kong retail and hospitality industries suffered due to monthslong anti-government protests that first started in June over now-withdrawn extradition bill.
Despite these, Benjamin Chau, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director, praised the fair for the diversity of wines, spirits, beers and other alcoholic beverages including Japanese Sake, Chinese baijiu, Swedish sparkling wine Sav and among others.
“At this year’s Wine & Spirits Fair, the exhibitors showcased a fantastic assortment of wines from different regions of the world,” he commented. “The diversity of products offered buyers ample choice for different needs and tastes.”
Traditionally, Hong Kong is viewed as an important gateway to mainland China and other markets in Asia, thanks to its developed logistics network and free wine tax.
This year due to a slowdown in China’s economy and uncertainties with US-China trade war, Hong Kong’s wine exports to the mainland slowed, and HKTDC figures showed from January to June, total exports of wine dropped by 64.0% by value.
Hong Kong however still remains a premium wine market. Manuela Liebchen, Marketing Manager of Germany’s Deutsches Weininstitut, said: “Hong Kong has become a premier wine hub in Asia over the years, serving as the foothold for German wineries to penetrate the Mainland China market.
“Since the Hong Kong fair’s inauguration, we have been exhibiting here for 12 years. The HKTDC has made utmost effort continuously to attract so many buyers from Mainland China, Taiwan, Macao and various countries in Southeast Asia. German wine producers can meet with different buyers to explore opportunities.”