An innovative and exciting initiative was presented on Wednesday with representatives of the Western Cape wine industry, and leading Chinese importers participating.
This collaborative networking opportunity was initiated by China Construction Bank Johannesburg Branch (CCB), in conjunction with local organisations and Chinese wine industry entities, seeking to promote ongoing dialogue and trade between relevant producers and merchants. These included the South African Representative Office of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Wines of South Africa, China Alcoholic Drinks Association and Jingdong International Logistics.
“Let me applaud China Construction Bank for making the effort to actively promote South Africa and specifically our area of excellence in wine making which ranks amongst the best in the world,” commented the SA Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Dr. Siyabonga Cwele. “This year marks the 23rd Anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China, and in the midst of the global pandemic, the two countries continue to cooperate in multiple global forums such as this event,” Ambassador Cwele said. He added that “the local businesses will be able to leverage off CCB’s resourceful Match Plus Platform to be introduced to a vast client base in China.”
The CCB Match Plus platform was designed to assist companies of all sizes in sourcing and promoting products both in and out of China, ultimately matching supply and demand of a broad range of goods. The Deputy General Manager of International Business Department at CCB Head Office, Ms Hu Bofei pointed out that South Africa has been China’s largest trading partner in Africa for 11 consecutive years with the two countries accounting for one-fifth of China – Africa trade volume. She added that since the establishment of the Match Plus platform, CCB has successfully hosted 115 business matching event in 33 countries and regions, and have serviced thousands of businesses around the world.
In this colourful presentation, showcasing the beauty of some of the Cape Winelands and Cellars, the CEO of Wines of South Africa, Ms Siobhan Thompson representing this fully inclusive body that promotes South African producers of wine who export their products, shared some valuable observations. Ms Thompson said “China has been a focus market for us for the past 8 years and we have been active at exhibitions, and run an annual roadshow that brings both new wineries to China and supports the importers already working with SA wines. We have seen tremendous growth in the China market and the South African category is the fastest growing country of origin in China today.”
And this is where the Master of Wine, Mrs Fongyee Walker made her spectacular entrance and indeed led the highlight of this interactive event; the Wine Masterclass. Choosing a selection of wines from the samples that exhibitors made available to send to China for this very tasting, MW Walker, a highly experienced Master of Wine and one of only a handful of MWs based in mainland China, took the audience through a fantastic journey of the history of South Africa in relation to the local wine regions, describing the origins of the various grapes and cultivars, that have resulted in the popularity of South African wines today.
CEO of CCB Johannesburg Branch, Ms Meiwei Luo commented that “Under the guidance of CCB Head Office, the Branch will continue to host business events in service to the diverse clients’ needs”. Ms Luo then thanked the support received from the co-hosts, exhibitors and the CCB team who have worked diligently for the past months in coordinating this meaningful exhibition.
The event was a suitable and colourful opening to a fortnight long digital exhibition, where wine producers and China-based importers and distributors can fortify their trading relationships, and by the end of this opening event, deals had already been achieved by attending businesses.