Bullish on Hong Kong market’s comeback, the project director of the region’s leading wine fair ProWine Hong Kong is not daunted by competitions from peers, as the upcoming May edition will put to test if the city still remains Asia’s wine capital.
The three-day trade fair scheduled for May 10-12 will be the first major wine and spirits trade fair returning to Hong Kong after the city scrapped all Covid restrictions. But as event and business owners relocate to other cities including Hong Kong’s regional rival Singapore, the fair’s appeal to the drinks trade from Asia and mainland China will be put to test.
This year, the organiser has pulled all stops to stage a comeback show. The upcoming ProWine Hong Kong will feature a host of conferences, forums, masterclass and other concurrent events at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) alongside with Asia’s leading food & hospitality tradeshow HOFEX.
Country pavilions from some of the world’s leading wine producers will return including France, Germany and Italy. A variety of French wine regions will be shown under the umbrella of Business France, and German wines will be presented with a national pavilion supported by German Wine while Italian Trade Commission will also showcase some of Italy’s finest wines.
“We hope it can bring confidence, business opportunity to the industry. Both the local buyers and wine producers are eager to know more the industry information and re-build the bridge of the wine business with the world,” says Josh Gu, Project Director of ProWine Hong Kong when interviewed by Vino Joy News about his expectation for the fair.
“To be honest, it will still take some time to get the industry 100% back to before Covid, but the first step we are working together is really important,” he continued before concluding: “Hong Kong is still one of the most active, professional wine market cities in Asia.”
The city’s strength as he believes is its role in linking global wine and spirits producers to Asia and its market maturity. “ProWine Hong Kong offers global producers a business expansion gateway to northeast Asia, as well as a premium platform for local buyers to source the best wines from around the world. ProWine Hong Kong reflects the strength and development of wine and spirits market in Asia,” he explains.
Additionally, one of Hong Kong’s key attractions still lies its role as a window for mainland producers to international markets, he notes.
This year, one of the not-to-miss highlights from the wine fair is the Chinese delegation where the country’s premier wine region, Ningxia Helan Mountain East Foothill region, home to some of China’s most renowned producers will be making its debut at the event. China’s state-owned winery Chateau SunGod GreatWall will also organize a masterclass showcasing its top range wines that are often used for state banquets.
“One of the new things for ProWine Hong Kong 2023 is the participation from producers of Chinese mainland. Hong Kong is a harbour for global wines to Asia market, but also wines from mainland to Asia,” says Gu while stressing Hong Kong’s strategic importance.
One of the thorny issues that ProWine Hong Kong faces this year is its close timing with Vinexpo Asia. The latter for the first time moved from Hong Kong to Singapore due to the city’s restrictive Covid policies. Scheduled only 11 days after ProWine Hong Kong in Singapore, the timing raises fear that it might split visitors and exhibitors.
But when asked about the competition, Gu is confident about ProWine Hong Kong’s size and turnout. “We are facing competition with other wine events, but we are not worried about the competition. As from the beginning of organization for ProWine Hong Kong, we have a clear plan about the space size, which we already achieved,” he reveals.
“And regarding the visitor side, we keep more eyes on Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South China (Guangdong) market and Korea, Japan. It will be still easy for the buyers from these cities to visit ProWine Hong Kong and HOFEX (food exhibition concurrent with ProWine Hong Kong). So far, the registered visitor number is also very close to our plan,” he continues.