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Alibaba launches online Aust wine store

AAP logoAAP 2/09/2016 Trevor Chappell

Australian wines are set to get a big boost in China from e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's latest venture.

An online "flagship store" featuring Australian wine has been launched on Alibaba's business-to-consumer platform Tmall.com.

Alibaba's online retail sites cater to 434 million Chinese consumers, and the group generates half of China's online wine sales.

The new store on Tmall, supported by Wine Australia and operated by Chinese online retailer Vinehoo.com, will initially stock 10 brands from eight Australian wine regions, followed by another 20 brands in coming months.

The first brands to be featured include Brokenwood, Coriole, John Duval, Pikes and Voyager Estate. Wine Australia does not select the brands.

Wine Australia chief executive Andreas Clark said Alibaba was a significant player in Chinese e-commerce - a massive company with great reach.

"The muscle they can bring, potentially, to further increasing Australian wine sales is vitally important," Mr Clark said.

China's food and wine culture is still evolving, he said, and more Chinese consumers are looking online for premium products.

"Our support of Tmall's flagship Australian wine store helps us capitalise on this growing interest in Australian wine and gives us the opportunity to further reinforce the message with consumers that wines of Australian provenance are of the highest quality," Mr Clark said.

Alibaba's managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Maggie Zhou, said Australian wines are considered world-class, and come at varied price points, so the opportunity to sell to China's growing middle class is significant.

Mainland China is now Australia's second most valuable export market after the US.

Total Australian wine exports to mainland China in 2015/16 rose 50 per cent to $419 million. Exports of wine priced at $10 or more per litre grew 71 per cent to $169 million.

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