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Thriving Hong Kong wine scene can be ‘good for the bank account’, says Tsang

Hong Kong’s fine wine market is thriving and will continue to grow, was the message from the region’s authorities as the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits fair opened this morning.

Hong Kong financial secretary Hon John Tsang Chun-Wah (left) and HKTDC executive director Fred Lam (right) cut the ribbon to open the sixth HKIWSF

Top of the agenda for the region is selling Hong Kong as a destination for fine wine, underlining Hong Kong’s new status as the world’s biggest wine auction centre.

Hong Kong overtook New York as the world’s largest wine auction last year, as total sales reached HK$1.2bn (US$155m), the region’s financial secretary confirmed today (7 November).

In a speech to mark the opening ceremony of the sixth Hong Kong International Wine Fair – this year featuring Spain as its partner country – the Hon John Tsang Chun-Wah, GBM, JP, Hong Kong’s financial secretary said that strong ties with established wine territories have helped Hong Kong to prove that fine wine ‘can be good for the bank account’.

‘There’s a Spanish proverb; Good wine ruins the purse, bad wine ruins the stomach. Hong Kong has made it a mission to prove that good wine can also be good for your bank account.

‘The elimination of wine duty has helped Hong Kong become a major wine trading and distribution centre in Asia. And for those with deep pockets, Hong Kong has emerged as the largest wine auction centre in the world. I hope that this demonstrates that fine wine can indeed be good for both the stomach as well as the bank account,’ he said.

Fred Lam, executive director of Hong Kong’s Trade and Development Council, organisers of the fair, paid tribute to Tsang – widely hailed as the man who kick-started the wine boom in Hong Kong – following his decision to abolish wine duty in 2008.

‘In removing the wine duties back in 2008, you (Tsang) took one big leap forward for the wine industry in Hong Kong. Wine lovers here – and I count myself as one of them – are now spoilt for choice, thanks to you.’

As the show opened its doors, early concerns that next week’s inaugural ProWine in Shanghai might have adversely affected numbers to the annual Hong Kong event look to have been largely forgotten.

Exhibitor numbers are up on last year, say organisers, setting a new show record of more than 1,000 exhibitors from 40 countries, and featuring a number of new regions for the first time, including Jordan, Lithuania, Montenegro and Morocco.

The sixth edition of the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits fair opens today, and runs until Saturday 9th November.

Written by John Abbott in Hong Kong

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