China is one of the fastest-growing wine markets in the world. Wine businesses from
major wine-producing countries have been focusing on this market. New Zealand, as
the fastest growing wine producer in the New World countries, has targeted East Asia,
especially China, as an export destination. However, the market share and reputation
of New Zealand wines has not been very high and many New Zealand wine exporters
have neither understood the Chinese market very well, nor successfully set up their
export business there. The findings of this study will inform current and potential
wine exporters from New Zealand of effective market entry procedures.
A qualitative methodology was employed to identify the key elements of exporting
New Zealand wine to China. Fourteen businesses, including eleven New Zealand
wine exporters and three China-based wine import distributors were interviewed. The
data was analysed using qualitative data methods. The study found that New Zealand
wine exporters have used four market entry modes, chosen according to the different
characteristics of their businesses: indirect exporting, direct exporting, joint venture,
and acquisition. This study also identified key elements in successfully exporting New
Zealand wine to China, including the selection of market entry modes, distribution
channels, and suitable importer/distributors, the initial organisation of the wine export
process, and the development of business relationships. Challenges to this success
have also been identified, such as the current Chinese preference for red wines, the
small scale of the New Zealand wine industry, the orientation towards short-term
profit by Chinese traders, and identifying suitable business partners.
Recommendations are also made for the development of successful export business
by New Zealand wine producers in the future.
Key words: market entry, wine export, China wine market.