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What Opportunities Await Italian Wine in Asian Markets? Focus July 2024



Interest in Italian wine is growing in many Asian countries, driven by a combination of economic, cultural, and demographic factors.


The wine market in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow strongly, with an annual increase of 6.85% until 2027.


Countries like Singapore and South Korea are becoming increasingly important for Italian wine exporters, offering new opportunities for expansion and consolidation of Italian wine's presence in the region.



Market in Singapore

Singapore is emerging as a key hub for wine trade in Southeast Asia. Singapore has a population of about 5.7 million people, with a high per capita income making it an attractive market for high-quality products, including wines. In 2021, Italian food and beverage exports to Singapore grew by 15.1%, reaching SGD 145 million.


The "Italian Food & Beverage Singapore" (IFBS) event, organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, is a strategic platform that allows Italian producers to connect with buyers from across the Asia-Pacific region. This event facilitates B2B meetings, tastings, and product presentations, promoting Italian wine and consolidating its market presence. During the 2023 edition, over 30 exhibitors participated in the event, with more than 600 visitors and 50 buyers from across Asia.


During the 2023 edition, over 30 exhibitors participated in the event, with more than 600 visitors and 50 buyers from across Asia.



Market in South Korea

South Korea, with a population of about 51 million people, is another emerging market of great interest for Italian wine producers. In the past five years, wine consumption in the country has increased by 168%, reflecting a change in consumption habits and a growing appreciation for quality wines. In 2020, South Korea imported about 44 million liters of wine, with a total expenditure of over USD 240 million. South Korean importers are particularly interested in Italian wines for their variety and quality, as well as their association with Italian cuisine, which is very popular in the country.



Markets & Social Media


KakaoTalk and Naver for South Korea: Italian wine producers should consider creating specific content for KakaoTalk and Naver Blog, using these channels for promotions, communications, and visual storytelling of their products.

KakaoTalk, with over 45 million active users, is the dominant messaging app in South Korea, while Naver is the most popular search engine and includes a widely used blogging platform



Facebook and Instagram for Singapore

Use Facebook for targeted advertising campaigns and to build an active community around the brand. Instagram can be leveraged for collaborations with local influencers and to share captivating visual content that showcases the quality and story of Italian wines. These platforms are widely used in Singapore and are ideal for reaching different age groups.



YouTube for Both Markets

Creating high-quality video content on YouTube that can tell the story of Italian wine, show production processes, and offer virtual tastings can help reach and engage a broad audience in both countries. YouTube is a very popular platform in both South Korea and Singapore and is used for educational and entertainment content.


Wine, Tarifs and Duties

Singapore

Singapore is generally a free port and an open economy, applying a zero-duty to most tariff lines thanks to the most favored nation (MFN) policy. However, high excise taxes are applied to certain alcoholic beverages, including wine, for social and environmental reasons. Additionally, an 8% goods and services tax (GST) applies to all imports​ (Trade.gov)​.


South Korea

In South Korea, Italian wine benefits from the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which has eliminated tariffs on nearly 99% of imported products. However, wine is subject to a 10% value-added tax (VAT) and a special excise tax that varies from 10% to 20%, depending on the type of product (ref EUR-Lex)​.



In conclusion, the Asian market offers great potential for the expansion of Italian wine. With a projected annual growth of 6.85% until 2027, countries like Singapore and South Korea represent key opportunities for Italian producers. Through strategic events like IFBS and a strong presence at international fairs, Italian producers can consolidate their presence and take advantage of the opportunities offered by these emerging markets.

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