The Chengdu wine and spirits fair, the biggest trade fair for alcoholic beverage inside mainland China, has been postponed, the organiser has announced, due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus that has now sickened over 24,000 and killed 490 in China.
The China Food and Drinks Exhibition (Chengdu), commonly referred to as Chengdu wine and spirits fair, was originally scheduled to take place from March 26-28 in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province in southwestern China, which also confirmed over 300 infected cases though over 1,000 km away from the outbreak in Hubei.
This fair on average would welcome 150,000 trade visitors each year and generate around RMB 20 billion (US$3.17 billion) in sales. It is considered arguably the most important wine and spirits fair inside mainland China for its sheer visitor number and scale.
As China is struggling to contain the deadly coronavirus which had spread out from the epicentre of Wuhan to all provinces in China, as well as 24 countries, the fair has been postponed without an immediate announcement of later dates.
In a statement sent out by the organiser on February 4 addressed to exhibitors and visitors, it says “to fight the new coronavirus is the utmost national top priority” and in order to follow directions issued by the central government and local Sichuan government to suspend public events, it has put the trade fair on hold until further notice.
The main fair, organised and hosted by the Chengdu government, spanning 200,000 square meters, drew more than 6,300 exhibitors and roughly 200,000 trade visitors at the main trade show at Western China (Chengdu) International Expo City in 2019, according to the organiser.
It’s unknown at this stage if the coronavirus will affect other wine and spirits fairs in Asia. Vinexpo Hong Kong is expected to take place in May.
As of February 5, the deadly coronavirus has infected at least 24,324 patients in mainland China and killed 492, according to data released by the National Health Commission. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as Europe, North America and the Middle East have also reported confirmed cases, bringing the global total of confirmed cases to 24,539.
China’s official trade org already warned of ‘cliff-like’ drops for wine and spirits sales this year, as Vino Joy News reported earlier.
The spreading coronavirus is threatening to wreak wider havoc on China’s economic growth, as many economists fear it will possibly outweigh damages done from SARS outbreak nearly two decades ago and the US-China trade war.
Officials from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences are warning that the country’s growth in the first quarter of 2020 could drop below 6% to around 5%, which would be the slowest growth in years, as many factories and industries across the country will remain shut at least until early February to curb human mobility and contacts.