How to import wine to China? The complete Guide
China’s attractiveness for wine is growing rapidly and the country is expected to surpass the United Kingdom and become the world’s second largest wine market by 2020, reaching $ 21 billion. The market is expected to grow an average of 7% each year over the next four years, reaching 6.1 billion liters of wine sold in 2020. Each year, a growing percentage of the wine sold in China is imported from abroad; last year this figure exceeded 10% for the first time.
1) Wine import regulations in China
« It is important to study local regulations and standards well ahead of time before starting to export consumable goods to China »
You must ensure that you are in full compliance with the strict national regulations required by the Chinese authorities regarding food products, including wine. In addition, you must follow the GB standards (Guobiao standards) which are often derived from the standards applied in Western countries (not sure of the meaning), which ensure that the products consumed do not represent any danger.
On the other hand, standards are frequently updated, so be sure to check in the right place and be up-to-date on the information you’ ll find.
1.1) Standards from AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the Republic of China)
Here is an overview of the standards imposed by AQSIQ and what they imply:
- AQSIQ Order 27 (2012) – Issued for pre-packaged food and wine labelling.
- AQSIQ Declaration 55 (2012) – Issued to administer the registration of foreign exporters, agents and importers.
- AQSIQ Declaration 59 (2011) – Used to register the labelling of products imported for the first time.
- AQSIQ Decree 144 – For Administrative Safety Measures for Food Import and Export
- AQSIQ Press Release No. : AQSIQ 44 (2006) – For adjustments to the import and export inspection system of food and cosmetic labelling.
Abolition of separation and preliminary inspections of labels for imported and exported food products, including wine. Instead, the approval will be transmitted by the CIQ inspection when the goods arrive at the port.
1.2) Other food and wine standards
- Food Security Law of the People’s Republic of China (2015)
- National People’s Congress (2015)
- President’s Order 22 for Advertising
- SAIC : Measurement for the Administration of Specific Signs of Geographical Indication of Products
- Registered trademark in China
1.3) GB (Guobiao) standards for wine exports to China
« Regulations change rapidly, especially in emergent markets like China. That is why we suggest that you work with professionals who can guide you through the entire export process »
Here is an overview of the most common UK regulations that apply for wine imports into China :
- General Standard GB 10344-2005 – for the labelling of pre-packaged alcoholic beverages
- General Standard GB 7718-2011 – for the labelling of pre-packaged food products
- GB 15037-2006 – for wine
- GB 2758-2012 – Fermented Alcoholic Beverages and their Integrated Alcoholic Beverage
- Standard 2760-2014 – for the Use of Additive Complements
- GB 2763-2014 – Maximum Permitted Levels of Pesticides in Food Products
- GB 2761-2011 – Maximum Permitted Levels of Mycotoxins in Foods
- GB 2762-2012 – Maximum Permitted Levels of Pollutants in Food Products
- GB 12696-1990 – Hygiene Specifications for Wine Manufacturing Plants
- GB/T 15038-2006 – Fruity Wine and Wine Analytical Methods
- GB/T 23543-2009 – Good Manufacturing Practice for Wine Enterprises
All GB standards that are called GB/T are not mandatory. The letter “T” comes from the word Tuijian which means “recommended”
2) Process to follow to export wine to China
« The following steps are necessary before exporting your merchandise. We invite you to continue reading this article in order to benefit from practical advice to successfully complete your export. »
2.1) Sign the agreement with your Chinese importer
First, you need to find a Chinese importer who is willing to import your products. This same importer can take care of the next point. (see below point 2.2)
2.2) Register your business with AQSIQ
To be eligible to export wine, you must register your company with AQSIQ. Afterwards, you will receive a registration number. The information concerning your company will be stored on the AQSIQ database.
2.3) Trademark registration
Before shipping your products, you need to register your label and send some documents to the CIQ for verification. In a second step, you will receive a deposit number for products eligible for import into China.
2.4) Information to specify on the label
When you are ready to export your goods, it’s best to attach Chinese labels directly to your products. You have the option to do this before shipping your goods or after when they arrive in China and are stored in a warehouse under surveillance.Your local importer or agent can take care of it for you.
Remark SINO: The following information must be indicated on the label
2.5) Necessary documents to export wine to China
You must prepare this documents before shipping your products:
- Commercial invoice
- Customs declaration by value
- Freight insurance document
- Export Package List
- Certificate of Insurance
- Certificate of Origin (for distilled spirits and beverages with malt)
- Health Certificate (for distilled spirits and beverages with malt)
- Certificate of Authenticity/Free Sale (for distilled spirits and beverages with malt)
- Export certificate specific to wine
2.6) Ship your goods
Once you have marked your goods, you can prepare your shipment. Unless you are in a rush for various reasons (need in stock or lack of time) the most appropriate means of delivery is by sea which generally takes between 4 and 6 weeks.
2.7) Inspection and CIQ labelling
When your goods arrive in China, your local importer or agent must declare the goods to the nearest DIA office.
The CIQ staff is responsible for controlling goods entering and leaving Chinese territory and ensuring that local standards are respected. Once your property has been approved, you will receive a Certificate of Approval from the CIQ. This will allow your goods to be transported to the next stage, customs clearance.
2.8) Should I test my products before exporting them to China?
Yes, all food products must be tested before being sold in China. Without this stage, export will not be possible.
In any export project, it is necessary to check the country’s current legislation concerning the export of wine (New Zealand Wine Act, 2003 for example). During the test carried out on the wine product, the laboratories analyse in particular :
- The rate of metals and minerals
3) What are the import taxes and tariffs for wine ?
You have to pay three different taxes when you export wine:
- TVA : 17%
- Customs duty: 14%.
- Excise tax: 10%.
« Keep in mind that countries that have free trade agreements with China, such as France, can change, so check rates and follow the news. »
4) The Chinese market
« The market for alcoholic beverages in China has grown significantly over the past 10 years. »
Despite a steady increase of consumption in China, the steps to introduce alcoholic beverages from all over the world in China are not an easy task. This is the reason why you will need to know the procedures and how they work, the necessary documents, the cost involved but also the duration of the delivery of your products.
The middle class and a huge part of the young population (18-30 years old) are now appreciating foreign products, including wine, giving great opportunities to seize for foreign exporters. But wine is considered as one of the most regulated food products. That is why it is important that you are aware of the local standards that apply and be sure to understand the export process beforehand.
You will therefore find in this article useful information to be able to export wine to China.
4.1) The wine market in China
Despite a slowdown in Chinese growth, the wine market continues to move forward.
Today, wine is no longer considered only as a valuable gift or consumed by the wealthy Chinese population. Young people have also switched from drinking local spirits (such as Baijiu or yellow wine) to foreign grape wines.
The demand for wine has increased considerably in part because the government as well as Chinese politicians have spent significant amounts on the purchase of exceptional wines.
4.2) Increase of online wine sales
The Chinese population is addicted to online shopping, and wine is no exception.
Even if some people prefer to test the wine before buying it, most people buy a bottle on simple criteria: sweet or dry wine, or even the origin of the grapes (Riesling (Australia) or Chardonnay (France) for example).
Labelling and bottle design are also very important, depending on the type of consumers you are targeting.
4.3) In which regions should I target my Customers in China?
In terms of size China is similar to Europe, which is why consumer taste varies from region to region.
We therefore recommend that you contact a local agent or distributor who can guide you in exporting your products to the most appropriate regions. They will guide you according to the tastes of the consumers you target.
Keep in mind that Chinese cuisine differs from region to region, central China consume more spicy dishes, while eastern regions prefer mild dishes in flavor, which can influence a buyer’s choice.
4.4) Selling in second-tier cities
Despite a strong demand in the 4 main cities of China (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou), they do not have to be your only option.
Indeed, more than 150 cities in central China have a population of more than 1 million people. Moreover, competition in small and medium size cities will give you more share on the market than you could get in the big 4.
Here are some examples of wines that are in increasing demand in China:
- Fruity wines with a low tannin content are the most appreciated.
- Aromatic white wines have great growth potential
- Sparkling wines (especially sweet wines) have become very popular.
5) Sell wine online in China
« As stated at the beginning of the article, online wine sales have increased quickly in China »
The growing use of online sales sites (50% of purchases in the first half of the year in 2017) indicates that this concept is a winning one.
People are not reluctant to purchase one or several bottles on sites such as Ele.me or Tmall, even if they have not tasted it before. A modern bottle with a pleasant description is enough to convince them.
6) How can Sino Shipping help me move to the next step ?
« You need help with the CIQ, the CCC or make a first purchase with Tmall online ? We work with consultants or service providers who can help you at every stage of the process. CIQ, CCC, labelling and laboratory tests »
- Shipping and customs
- Sales on Tmall, JD Worldwide and other platforms
- Find retailers and distributors for your products