Wine – an Essential Sector for Tmall

The Chinese retail giant develops countless new ways to market wine from around the world

Since 2012 the consumption of wine in this region has shifted from business to personal. We asked Mike Hu, President of the FMCG BU, Tmall – Alibaba group, to tell us more about this trend.

This is the period of time where many of the key importers in the China market established their E-Commerce team to better serve their EC key accounts such as Tmall. We also witnessed the rapid growth of wines through the E-Commerce Channel.


From 2013-2015, a great number of importers that were only focusing on Personal Client channel went out of business. In recent years, retail prices of some of the most popular wines have continued to drop due to price transparency online and improvement of supply chain.

How are wine sales going for Alibaba?

Wine always been a category on which Alibaba Group has placed great importance. Our 99 Tmall Wine & Spirits Festival was the single most important wine event in China. In 2015, for our New Retail Concept, we launched the HEMA supermarket, which is the first cashless supermarket in China to focus on fresh seafood and in store restaurant in which customers cook seafood purchased from the supermarket. Wine will also be a hot category for customers to purchase to pair with the food. The HEMA APP also offer 30 minutes delivery within 3 km radius, 24 hours a day.
We expect us to continue to be the leading E-Commerce platform for many years to come.

What are the trends in terms of demand when it comes to production regions and types of wine?

#1 is France, the fastest growing is Australia and the hottest type of wine is sweet. French still wines have a predominate position by far at Alibaba, but we are seeing rapid growth in wines from Australia, Chile and Italy. Italy’s sweet whites are absolutely loved by many young wine drinkers as they are still developing their palate for wines.

Why do you feel Australian wines are selling so well in China?

There are many reasons why Australian producers have been performing well in the China market. Customers are able to find wines that have better value for money due to the lower Import Tax. Australian Wine producers and their trade organisation, Wine Australia, have been very active in the China Market. Winemakers and owners are always present in the market, meeting potential buyers with their importers. Under the leadership of the Wine Australia Management team, they have organised some of the most popular tasting events across China, and their annual roadshow is always highly anticipated by the trade.

How important is Vinexpo Hong Kong for you… and why?

Vinexpo Hong Kong is the most important trade event in China, but also across the continent. This is a true global wine event were buyers and producers from all over the world meet for business. For Alibaba, this is an excellent occasion to introduce our Alibaba Ecosystem to potential partners from Asia, Europe, the Americas and other places around the world, because we truly believe there are opportunities for everyone, for producers of all sizes.

Photo: Mike Hu, President, FMCG BU, Tmall, Alibaba group


Tmall launched their “Future Bar” concept at Vinexpo Hong Kong.

Alibaba invited Vinexpo Hong Kong’s attendees to experience the future of wine with Tmall robot waiters, face scanning technology, a new smart wine cooler and much more to discover on their stand. Redefining commerce by enabling seamless engagement between the online and offline world, building a retail ecosystem that combines both channels, making the shopping experience more personal, engaging and convenient: all these new technologies are part of Alibaba’s “New Retail” strategy that was disclosed at Vinexpo Hong Kong on their stand and in a press conference on Wednesday 30 May.