WiMo, a new Chinese canned wine brand created just in 2021, surprised the wine market by raising millions of funding recently, signalling market’s bullish confidence in China’s expanding low-alcohol drinks market, which is expected to reach over RMB 74 billion (US$11 billion) by 2025.
Established in 2021, WiMo “Pu Ke” (WiMo”葡刻”), which means “Wine Moment” in Chinese, is a fast-consuming wine brand targeting younger generation of wine drinkers in China.
Created by a group of millennials or post-90s generation, WiMo aims to produce approachable table wine that shatters the sophisticated and dull image of wine perceived by Chinese consumers.
Its fast-track rise has attracted attention from Kindergarten Green, an investment firm backed by video streaming platform iQIYI (爱奇艺), which is owned by China’s internet search giant Baidu Inc., for its series A financing round. The exact amount of funding is not disclosed but Chinese media reports said it’s “in the millions”.
This is already the company’s second significant investment within a year of its establishment. Just five months after it was set up, it secured RMB 10 million (US$1.5 million) capital from its angel investor Telescope Investment, a Chinese venture capital firm focusing on domestic retail start-ups.
China had more than 115,000 low-alcohol-related enterprises by September 2021, data from business inquiry platform Tianyancha showed. Famous investors including Matrix Partners and Sequoia China are also eyeing the growing low-alcohol sector that targets the Gen Z consumers.
According to state media Xinhua News, in 2020, China’s low alcohol drinks market already reached RMB 20 billion (US$3 billion) valuation, and is expected to grow to RMB 74.2 billion (US$11 billion) by 2025.
“There has always been no shortage of strong players in the wine industry, but wine still has new product forms and gameplays that are worth exploring. We saw that the WiMo team is the leader of this field. They are also constantly exploring more possibilities in new product lines and business lines. I believe this team can continue to surprise us,” WiMo’s investor Kindergarten Green commented.
Casual wines welcomed by youngsters
One of the major reasons behind WiMo’s success was its marketing strategy engineered towards health-conscious first-time wine consumers.
In China, the young generation are driving the growth of no- or low-alcohol beverages as they hope to drink approachable wines without the burden of health risks and knowledge level.
WiMo’s sparkling wines and “Winetails” series, two of its most popular ranges, come with fruity flavours and bubbly texture that are similar to juice and soft drinks. Along with the slogan of “minimal additives”, WiMo promotes a healthy and easy-to-drink brand image that quickly gained popularity among the young generation.
For packaging, WiMo opted for the more casual and portable can packaging instead of glass bottles. Canned packaging also gives out a casual image, meaning youngsters can easily drink the wine on any occasions, especially to consume at home alone and relax, according to the company.
“The younger generation of wine drinkers prefer to decide and choose for themselves over ‘being educated’. There are many choices today for wine consumers, and obviously these young drinkers don’t subscribe to traditional wines that still preach rules and regulations to enjoy wines,” says its founder Tang Chao.