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WSET returns to mainland China

Published:  05 January, 2022

After almost 12 months of suspending its educational activities in China, the WSET confirmed today (January 5) that it has received state approval to resume teaching.

As reported by Harpers columnist Tim Atkin MW, the WSET announced in February 2021 that it was (temporarily) halting all its activities in mainland China, including all courses and examinations.

However, teaching will now restart, as the WSET has received official approval to set up a representative office as an overseas non-government organisation (ONGO) in China.

“Over the last 11 months, WSET has worked hard to meet the requirements for resuming business and has remained committed to the Chinese market,” said a representative from the organisation.

In addition, the WSET announced that it was opening a new office in Shanghai, adding to its global network of offices in London, Hong Kong SAR, and West Hartford (Connecticut, USA).

The directors have also appointed Willa Yang as chief representative to head up operations in China. Willa brings with her a rich breadth of experience – she previously held leadership roles at Wine Australia’s China Office and the Australian Trade Commission, as well as running her own wine consultancy business for several years.

Chief executive, Ian Harris, commented: “I am delighted that we are now officially approved to resume business in China and, through our network of course providers, we will be able to start offering our qualifications to students once more. I am extremely grateful to our 100 plus Chinese course providers and their students who have supported us over the last 11 months. WSET has a history of over 15 years of empowering drinks professionals and enthusiasts in China through wine, spirits and sake education. My team and I are excited to be able to continue our educational mission.”

Willa Yang added: “It is my great honour to join the WSET team. We enter 2022 with excitement and anticipation of great things to come. China’s wine and spirit category has been in continual growth and the demand for our qualifications has never been greater. I look forward to working with our team in China, as well as our course providers, to lead the way in wine and spirits education in 2022 and beyond.”

The WSET is now working closely with its course providers and the Chinese authorities and hopes that courses and exams will restart following the Chinese New Year holiday period.