Hong Kong overtakes New York, London as largest wine market

HONG KONG, Oct 6, 2009 (AFP) - Hong Kong has overtaken New York and London as the largest wine market for Sotheby's, the auction house said Tuesday, after it sold 7.9 million dollars of rare vintage to Asian buyers over the weekend.

Sotheby's recorded total wine sales of 14.3 million dollars in the southern Chinese city this year.

The figure surpassed those of New York and London, which respectively fetched a total of 10.5 million dollars from four auctions and eight million dollars from seven auctions, Sotheby's told AFP.

"In Sotheby's first year of selling wine in Asia, Hong Kong has become (its) most important wine centre, ahead of very successful auctions in New York and London," said Serena Sutcliffe, head of its international wine department.

"Sotheby's have exciting plans to build on this momentum to bring to the market top collections in 2010."

The auction house began to hold regular wine and champagne auctions in Hong Kong this year, after the government abolished duties on importing wine in 2008 in a bid to establish the city as a regional wine hub.

China's growing demand for top brand French wine has become the key driver of Hong Kong's wine market, as can be seen from the increasing number of mainland Chinese bidders in the auctions.

At the weekend sales, a Chinese bidder splashed out a record 93,077 dollars for a bottle of 1982 Chateau Petrus Imperial.

Sutcliffe said 99 percent of buyers in the two-day auction were Asian buyers, including those from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The latest auction fetched almost 30 percent more than Sotheby's estimate of 6.13 million dollars.

Source: AFP

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