Constellation Brands Ramps Up Its Chinese Operations

on 19/05/11 at 12:03 pm

Industry

Constellation Brands Inc. is ramping up its Chinese operations as the winemaker looks to capitalize on a growing thirst for its offerings there.

The company, whose brands include Robert Mondavi and Kim Crawford wines and Svedka vodka, has installed a senior executive in Hong Kong to build its infrastructure there and in coming weeks will formally announce a leader for its Asian business, Chief Executive Rob Sands said in an interview.

Mr. Sands said imported table wines are a particularly attractive opportunity. The Chinese market for table wine was estimated to have expanded in excess of 20% annually over the five years to 2010, with the market for imported bottled table wines growing at more than triple that rate, according to an April report from Rabobank. The bank values the Chinese market for imported bottled wine around $655.7 million, the bulk from red wines.

Mr. Sands said Constellation is formulating its strategy for how to break into the country, which can be hostile to outsider businesses. It may grow via its own organization or consider a partnership or acquisition. Constellation already has a connection in the Chinese alcohol market, importing Tsingtao beer to the U.S. via Crown Imports, a partnership with Grupo Modelo SAB de CV.

{Full story via WSJ}

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