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Issue 100 - Eastern Promise

Whisky Magazine Issue 100
December 2011

 

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Eastern Promise

Based in the United Arab Emirates, Jihane Miller cut her teeth in the drinks industry at Hotel Du Vin. Having worked in the wine trade for more than seven years, she caught the whisky bug in 2008 and now contributes regularly to several publications across a range of drinks and spirits categories.

As luxury brands scramble to secure a foothold Asia-Pacific's burgeoning economy, the drinks industry is racing to keep ahead of what resembles a modern-day gold rush. For Scotch, China holds all the promise of the Far West in the 18th Century, but does it represent a fundamental reposition for this category or is it just a flash in the pan?

As Western economies stagnate and traditional markets stall, it can hardly be considered surprising that many eyes are turned East, where the seemingly unstoppable force of the Asian flagship markets is helping to keep smiles on the faces of most CEOs. While the rest of the world was crying into its collective spilled milk in 2009, China posted growth of 9.2 per cent, a drop on previous years but still well beyond the wildest dreams of the West. Such growth rates, which look set to continue regardless of the risk of ‘double dip' elsewhere, are driven by: “fiscal stimulus and a massive increase in credit and public investment,” according to Spiros Malandrakis, alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor International.

He continues: “China's rates of real GDP growth should remain above nine per cent per year in the medium term and the number of urban households earning more than the annual benchmark of US$5,000 will grow substantially, creating millions of new consumers”.

Hot on China's heels, South Korea and Vietnam are also flexing their financial muscles as the benefits of long-awaited trade agreements and liberalisation of thei...

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