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Wines of South Africa ramps up Asian focus

Published:  31 October, 2014

Wines of South Africa is stepping up its marketing efforts in Asia with the opening of a dedicated office in Hong Kong.

Wines of South Africa is stepping up its marketing efforts in Asia with the opening of a dedicated office in Hong Kong.

The generic body already runs two offices outside its home country - one in London and another in New York. The new office will be run by WOSA's Michaela Stander, who has been focusing on Asia since 2008 from her base in South Africa.

South AfricaSouth African wines poised for growth in AsiaWines of South Africa is ramping up its Asian focus with a new dedicated office in Hong Kong.

WOSA chief executive Siobhan Thompson said the move will allow the body to better capitalise on opportunities in the Far East. "We can now more effectively support the growing numbers of South African producers trading in Asia, along with their importers, through increased education, networking and involvement in trade and consumer exhibitions in the region."

Stander will focus on Hong Kong, where Asia's wine consumption is highest, and which is also recognised as a major travel hub. Mainland China, Macau and Japan will also be priorities.

"Michaela is a highly experienced wine marketer. Her conversancy with Asia and many of its cultural dynamics, her familiarity with Japanese and her well-established networks with trade customers, sommeliers and wine educators are an asset to WOSA," Thompson said.

Wines of South Africa

She added that South Africa is ripe for growth in China as consumers become more adventurous and seek out better value wines. "The implementation of China's recent austerity measures and the resultant market correction is seeing the culture of gifting being replaced by the far more sustainable culture of consumption. In this context, wine-lovers are increasingly looking for excellence at realistic prices. We are certainly extremely well placed in this regard, from luxury to more affordable offerings.

For the 12 months to September 2014, SA Wine Industry & Information Systems shows year-on-year sales volumes of bottled wines to China were up by 5% and to Japan, by 14%.

WOSA already has a China-facing WOSA website and has commissioned a Beijing-based company to expand the social media presence for South African wine via Weibo, YouKu and WeChat.

In Japan WOSA works with a celebrity wine educator and is running an education programme for trade and consumers.

WOSA is also participating at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair from November 6 to 8, and at the second Prowine China exhibition, from November 12 to 14.