A Close Look at Wine Market in Tier-2, 3 Cities by Interwine
A Close Look at Wine Market in Tier-2, 3 Cities by Interwine

Canton Universal hosted the very first professional exhibition of imported wine in China - Interwine - in 2004. Since 2010 Canton has adopted the “Main Exhibition + Roadshow” mode to expand Interwine's platform to China’s Tier-2, Tier-3 cities.


Till today Canton Universal has hosted more than 150 roadshows across China. They have not only been well received by the trade, but also accumulated valuable first-hand intelligence on wine market in China's vast hinterland.

This knowledge has served as a useful guide for overseas brands to penetrate China's inland, and also offers good insights to help domestic operators to make crucial decisions.


As the2017 Interwine Roadshow unfolds in more cities, we'd like to share with our readers some crème de la crème.





Xi'ning 西宁 is the capital city of China's Qinghai Province. A major metropolis in north-western China, Xi'ning is Qinghai's trade and commerce hub, and thelargest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has a population of over two million, with GDP per capita at  RMB 49,200 (about USD 7,500)  in 2015.



Xi'ning ( the name literally means "pacify the west") is a typical city of immigrants, with many ethnic groups and a diverse religionous scene. Alcohol consumption has a long  tradition here, as the city itself is known for the production ofTibetan barley wine, beer and grape wine.

Xi'ning Landscape


Imported Wine Consumption by Location

(data collected from Interwine's interviews and surveys)


Night  Club, KTV and Bar


Imported wine consumed at these venues are mostly high volume products, including both originally bottled & imported wine and bulk-imported wine.


Compared with wine, the alcohol drinks-of-choice  at such venues are beer (Budweiser and Kronenbourg 1664 are among the most popular brands) and spirit (brandy and whiskey).

beer and spirit dominate Xi'ning's KTVs




Most of the imported wine available in the restaurants here are originally bottled imported wines.




Most supermarkets here has some lineup of imported wine. Originally bottled imported wines are widely available, but there is also a strong presence of bulk-imported wines.

a Xi'ning local supermarket


Imported Wine Specialty Store


This is where originally bottled imported wine's presence is strongest.


Local Taste Preference


According to Interwine's interview of wine professionals in Xi'ning, consumers of imported wine in Xi'ning generally prefer:


wines with pronounced fruitiness (like typical Australian and Californian wines);


wines with relatively high alcohol (14~15%). 


They are generally less attracted by wines with high acidity and strong tannins.


The most concentrated range of per capita consumption of imported wine is RMB100 - 200 (USD15 - 30).


Distributors and Agents


According to the estimation by several imported wine professionals, the annual sales volume of imported wine in Xi'ning is around 60 containers (around 720,000 bottles, assuming that a standard 20-foot container contains 12,000 750ml bottles).


It is mainly distributed through about 30 imported wine specialist stores and a number of "channel operators", who supply the local retailers with flexible categories instead of running their own retail outlets. Among those imported wine specialist stores, about 70% are run by agents of imported wine brands. The rest are run by local importers.



Xi'ning's newly developed Haihu New District, thanks to the agglomeration effect of multiple landmark projects such as Wanda Plaza and Sofitel, has a highly concentrated presence of imported wine specialty store. About 20 of the 30imported wine specialist stores are located in this area.  The rest of them are mostly located in the city's Chengdong and Chengxi District.

Xi'ning's Huhai New District


Patterns in Marketing 



For the local imported wine specialty stores, their products are often marketed as "favorable choice for business hospitality use". In the meantime they also promote their brands through sponsorship to the city's most publicized international events, such as FIRST Youth Film Festival and the annual Tour of Qinghai Lakecycling race. 

They are also successful in marketing their brands as "official wine sponsors" for Xi'ning's numerous Chamber of Commerce organizations.


1919, a relatively new player known for its online-to-offline operation mode, also carries out its O2O marketing strategyin its outlets in Xi'ning.




Some Flashbacks of Interwine Roadshow in Xi'ning




























寻酒(Seeking Wine)工作室





@A  我觉得西宁站较好,仅仅半天的展会给我的感觉很不错。我是第一次参加,也能见到有潜力的客户,而且我讲的东西,有人懂,有人愿意听。

@B  起初选择西宁站是因为没有去过那边,希望去了解下。西宁站巡展的人比较多,质量还有提高的空间。例如像北京的大展,我觉得就很不错。

@C  会再过去西宁,即便是自己掏机票,去开发市场。