China’s official drinks trade body has appointed the country’s most influential wine personality, Wang Shenghan, aka Lady Penguin as the official ambassador for Chinese wine in hopes of leveraging her massive social media clout to promote Chinese wine.
The news was announced last week at the 16th China International Alcoholic Drinks Expo in Luzhou of Guizhou province, and is seen as the latest move from China Alcoholic Drinks Association to drive domestic consumers to drink Chinese wine instead of imported wines by tapping an Internet influencer.
While Australian wine has been essentially wiped out of the Chinese market due to crushing punitive tariffs of up to 218%, its absence has baited its competitors including Chinese counterparts to grab its 40% market share.
Wang with millions of followers on Chinese social media platforms seems to be CADA’s bet to convert more foreign wine lovers into Chinese wine drinkers.
Aged 32, she has grown to be one of the most influential wine influencers inside mainland China. Her own e-commerce platform on Tmall.com features an array of alcoholic drinks not just limited to wine from baijiu, yuzu wine to sake.
Though wine sales is not yet the main source of her company revenue, her marketing-savvy and video-driven wine contents on Chinese social media platforms such as Douyin, Weibo and WeChat have gained her millions of followers.
On Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, she talks to her more than 3 million followers about what distinguishes a red wine glass from a white wine glass or how to hold a decanter or how to choose wine based on lipstick colors. She describes the Merlot grape variety as a “friend next door”, and Riesling as a “fairy in a white cotton dress”.
By 2020, her company’s annual revenue is reportedly at RMB 300 million (US$45.9 million), according to her post on Weibo.
Announcing the news on her own WeChat account, Wang wrote, “As a brand ambassador, we will work more deeply and extensively with more quality Chinese wine brands to bring the truly wonderful and high-quality side of domestic wine to more people.”
The collaboration, according to her, is only for estate Chinese wines, meaning wines that are made and bottled at the winery. In addition, the wines need to meet three other criteria, one of which is that it has to be rated by China’s own wine rating system, which we have reported previously.
Chinese wine consumption account for roughly half of wines drunk in the country, and in recent years, there’s a push for domestic consumers to drink more Chinese brands.