Last year the Chinese drank twice as much Russian beer as in 2015. Official figures show that exports of beer from Russia to China grew to up 10 million US dollars. Export experts discuss why Russian alcohol has invoked such an interest.
Russian beer producers have managed to increase beer supplies to China due to the fact that the Chinese started consuming more imported beer, according to Yuri Shurygin, Executive Director of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Exporters.
“Beer consumption is growing in China, including foreign brands. In 2015, the Chinese imported beer worth 575 million US dollars. For the first three quarters of 2016 — worth 525 million US dollars. The final figures for 2016 will be much higher, they will outperform 2015 by 20-30%,” Yuri Shurygin said.
“Beer is a traditional drink in China, Chinese people love it and drink often. Imported beer consumption in China has been growing due to the growing wealth and purchasing power of Chinese citizens. There is quite a large middle class, it is already bigger than the population of our country,” the expert said.
The Chinese have been increasing beer imports for the past six years. Simultaneously, exports of Russian beer to China have been growing. The biggest leap was in 2015, when supplies in physical and monetary terms more than doubled.
However, the main supplier of beer to the Chinese market — Germany, it accounts for one-third of the deliveries. For example, in 2015, the Germans exported beer to the Chinese market worth 200 million US dollars (whereas the Chinese purchased beer for 575 million US dollars). Holland ranks second - (in 2015, this country has sold beer to China worth 138 million US dollars), the third is Spain (deliveries amounted to 38 million US dollars), followed by Mexico and Italy. China accounts for 25% of the global beer market, Yuri Shurygin said.
Despite the fact that Russia has just started riding the wave, Russian beer producers have certain advantages in the Chinese market.
“Our advantage is that Russian companies have long been working on the Chinese market. They have learned to work with local players, and now they are expanding their presence on this market,” the expert said.
With regard to logistics, it is not easy. When beer comes from Russia’s Far East, then surely it is more profitable logistically than to bring beer from Germany, for example. But when you deliver beer from St. Petersburg, the difference is not that big.
Beer is delivered to China from all Russian regions. The Customs Service of Russia reports that last year the alcohol drink was most often exported from the Far Eastern and Central Federal Districts. Beer is delivered even from Crimea — 202 tons in 2016. This in 6.5 times more than from the Volga Federal District (31,000 tons).