French Vintage Wines and the Chinese Media: Towards an Effective Promotion Policy


Nathalie Omori | August 09, 2010

Nathalie Omori, Senior Partner of Zhenji, a marketing firm devoted to Chinese HNWIs, shares her insights into Chinese media

Nathalie Omori, Senior Partner of Zhenji, a marketing firm devoted to Chinese HNWIs, shares her insights into Chinese media

Zhenji did realize that its customers in the Bordeaux area were asking themselves many questions about their chinese advertisements. Most of the time, it is the extreme opacity of the concerned media that is to blame as well as a lack of knowledge of the local media landscape.

What is worth knowing about the publication number:

Whatever they are (charged or free, sold in newsstands, sent to databasis or put in some strategic spot like a hotel, a tasting house or a restaurant) all chinese media are subjected to censoring so that their publication number is nothing else but a publishing permit. A publication number, french (isbn) or coming from any other part of the world, becomes illicit in China so that this kind of medium will not be distributed through the country, especially in wellknown hotels, restaurants or tasting houses which reject them systematically.

Only a few magazines, those which are sent to some VIP databasis, can break this rule: Poh Tiong, a singaporean journalist, is enjoying this exemption as it is sent to amators of wine and not placed in hotels.

What is worth knowing about the press circulation figures:
In China, one must divide by four the announced circulation figures. We have it on good authority that, in women’s magazines, the market leader which pretends to have a print run of 900.000 copies does not actually exceed 200.000; but, in this country, inflating is almost a national sport… This principle must be applied to every chinese magazines apart from those submitted to you by Zhenji where the calculation has been done already.

Real exception on these inflating figures are the media from the Hong Kong BluInc Group as China Boating, Asia Spa, Polo, Luxury Properties and Jet Asia Pacific which correspond to the announced figures. Said to be most effective market niches, they are delivered by subscription and mostly to some very wealthy people in China. These media are the most efficient on the HNWI small world.

Influential media on the vintage wines market:

Superwealthy people’s media:
- Hurun Report, the equivalent for the Forbes List which is listing each month some Chinese superwealthy people, art collectors…
- The licensed magazine for China, Noblesse, of south Korean origin, is especially successful in the Shangai area,
- The luxury lifestyle Target is a medium of Chinese origin,
- The Chinese Robb Report, targets luxury instead of business and company managers as Robb Report uses to do in US .

The gastronomy and wine media:
- Food and Wine, a Chinese state property (100.000 copies sold in newsstands) targets the Chinese middle class. A very efficient medium which does exactly as he pleases,

- China Wine (100 000 copies sold in newsstands) is less classy than Food and Wine but more attentive to the market and its participants,
- Wine Press, bilingual in Chinese and English, is delivered to professionals. A very good forming tool for your vintage sales staff,
- Wine, delivered in Guanzhou (South China) where people rather drink brandy than wine, less interested in vintage wines, has a different marketing goal,
- Restaurant Review: a professional magazine for restaurants and a very useful tool for the chinese restaurants which would like to serve some vintage wines without the help of a sommelier.

Yes also to the books about wine if they have a publication number, a publisher and a charged distribution network because Chinese people are only interested in things that either cost money or have been given to them by someone they respect.

We recommend the book by Noel Chi about French wines, a quite successful one despite its rather rough look.

Hoping that this short clarification will help you with your promotional investments on this promising market, we will let you know if any new and reliable magazine is published.

Nathalie Omori, Senior Partner, Zhenji