Alibaba accounts for 50% of online wine sales in China, and earlier this year, founder Jack Ma said that over the next three years, he expects triple-digit growth in the company’s wine business. Thus, smaller Australian winemakers are trying to enter this lucrative Chinese market by collaborating with Tmall.com, according to Business Insider.

Alibaba
Photo by noviceromano, Flickr

Australian wine store on Alibaba

An Australian wine online store launched on Tmall.com – a popular business-to-consumer platform owned by Alibaba — on Thursday, reports The Shout. Initially, the Australian store will stock ten brands from eight wine regions, including Pikes, Voyager Estate, Brokenwood, Coriole, and John Duval. The store is planning to add 20 more brands in the next few months. This joint venture will provide an avenue for Chinese customers to buy Australian wine.

Wine Australia, the governing body, is backing the push, which is run by vinehoo.com, one of China’s leading online wine retailers. The site is being launched to correspond with a Tmall spirits and wine event being staged by Alibaba on September 9, notes BI.

Maggie Zhou, Alibaba’s Australian head, said Tmall has around 434 million active consumers in the country, and the local wine sector has a long way to go to reach maturity. Zhou said that in addition to well-recognized and established Australian wine brands, there is a strong potential for smaller producers to gain traction worldwide as well.

In 2015, Australia Post was part of a joint push into China last year via 1688.com, another Alibaba site that is a Mandarin-only business-to-business (B2B) online wholesaler, according to BI.

China is a big market for Australian wine

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said the support of Tmall’s flagship Australian wine store assists them in capitalizing on this increasing interest in Australian wine and gives them the opportunity to reinforce the message that Australian provenance wines are of the highest quality. The Chinese mainland is now Australia’s second most valuable export market, growing by 50% in FY16 to $419 million, said Clark.

According to Clark, the growth of Australian wine in the country can be attributed to the positive impact of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect in late 2015, and China’s increasing middle class.

“The food and wine culture in China continues to evolve, and there is increased demand from Chinese consumers for premium quality products online,” Clark said.

The Shout reported earlier this year that the Hong Kong and Chinese market was bigger than the United States for Australian wine now.