Although it is not widely known, the Chinese are actually the largest beer producers in the world. They produce more than 20% of the world’s production. Indeed, when you visit China, it is easy to see that the Chinese love to eat and drink. Beverage, especially beer, thus represents a huge market there! Archaeologists have even found traces of barley on the site of Mijiaya that prove that the Chinese were already brewing beer 5000 years ago. Today, most of Chinese producers are making blond beer, which is very light, with little alcohol, such as Tsingtao, Snow or Harbin. This product is slightly exported abroad but is mainly intended for the domestic market. Those beers are usually consumed during meals. They are refreshing and the Chinese love it.
This Chinese infatuation with beer is so strong that many beer festivals popped up across the country. The most famous one takes place in Qingdao, the 青岛 国际 啤酒节, the international beer festival. It is held every year in August in this city of the Shandong Province. This city has a particular culture of beer because it was occupied by the Germans in the late 1800s. They are the ones who built the brewery of the city. It is also from the name of the city of Qingdao that the Tsingtao brand was born. This festival has gained popularity today and brings together tens of thousands of people every year for a fortnight. Although Munich remains the undisputed world champion of the beer festival with its famous Oktoberfest,
Qingdao is its Asian counterpart. It is the largest beer festival on the continent. The event consists of dozens of tents where festival-goers can enjoy a variety of beer and attend several animations. Many foreign breweries are also present on the festival. This proves the interest of the Chinese in beers different from the ones they are used to. Though they are used to drink light beers, the Chinese are now more and more curious to try tasting beers of superior quality.
Other festivals are also organized in other cities of the country. For example, in Dalian, in the north of the country, there is a 12-day festival between July and August. All producers across the country are going through China to participate in the event. Some global producers are even crossing the world to attend the fest! As for the Beernanza Beer Festival in Shanghai, which celebrated its fourth edition this year. More than 150 varieties of beer were offered in marquees surrounded by 3 scenes to celebrate the event in music throughout the day.
The beers came from China, Germany, Belgium, Australia, France, and much more! A delight for the taste buds of the Chinese looking for beer with a stronger taste and alcohol than their traditional Tsingtao. For example IPA, stout, but also fruity beers that are very popular with women. Beer bars and micro-breweries are proliferating in the country. There is a bar chain in Shanghai, called “Beer Lady”. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this brand already has three bars in the city, all of which are very popular. By offering a variety of more than 1700 imported beers, the brand has quickly become a reference for beer lovers.
The beer market is therefore still very promising. Here are the keys to stand out and take advantage of the great opportunities of this market by importing your beer in China. However, it is no longer difficult to find imported beers. Especially in big cities, this is rather easy. But if their knowledge of the topic is relatively limited, they will still have difficulty choosing from the wide range of imported beer. So you have to know how to stand out and catch their eye. The packaging will be the best way to capture their attention. Moreover, their tastes are vastly different from those of Westerners. Bling-bling and flashy posters will not shock them, this will be the opposite effect. They tend to prefer this kind of design rather than the simpler, sleek, minimalist visuals. In addition, by buying such a product (which is not in their habits), they want to have the feeling to buy a luxury product. Your packaging must be attractive, original and neat.
Chinese Social networks
You also need to create a community on Chinese Social networks.
First of all because Western networks (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram …) are all censored but also because they spend most of their time on apps. Particularly on Wechat and Weibo. Through these networks, consumers must find your products and additional information that might interest them. It’s a good way to create a sense of belonging to an elite with a common interest. It is also the way to keep them updated of your novelties or give them information, which will enrich their knowledge about beer. In addition, you can use WeChat to sell your products on the internet.
E-Commerce in China
The most used e-commerce platforms still remain Tmall and JD.com. Using this kind of platform will allow you to target a large customer base, but also to reassure potential customers by offering your products on a trusted site.
You can also read our Strategic Guide to Export Food Brands in China
If you need help to get started in the Chinese market, do not hesitate to contact us.