WINE’S CHINA SYNDROME
By ROBERT JOSEPH
From Meininger’s WINE BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL News – January 13 2017
We are living at the tail end of the American century.
Whatever President-elect Trump might like to claim, the mantle is passing to China.
A century ago, the US’s population and greater wealth gave it two key advantages, which it used to influence the way citizens of other countries lived their lives – from production-line manufacturing to supermarket shopping, fast-food consumption, to advertising and popular culture.
It was not a French or British wine critic whose 100-point scale became the international default, for example.
But the US is like an ageing monarch seeing its power slip. Even if China’s economic growth stalls, America will, over the longer term, continue to lose ground. China’s influence is already palpable. Hollywood producers now think about how their movies will play in Pudong as well as Peoria, and Facebook freely admits that it wants to offer a retail service that’s as sophisticated as its Chinese rival WeChat.
Of course the influencing process works both ways. Chinese diners will adopt Western cutlery before Americans and Britons switch to chopsticks, and there will be a greater readiness to learn English in China than the reverse. But just as British parents have watched their offspring adopt Halloween and the school prom, the Western wine industry will soon be learning some lessons from China. (suite…)