New £3m fund for Chinese whisky investorsBy Kristiane Sherry
A new Chinese investment initiative aims to boost Scotch imports by 20% against a backdrop of anti-austerity measures in the country.
The £3 million fund, generated by members of the Single Malt Club China (SMCC), will be used to buy rare expressions for the Chinese market.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced the initiative over the weekend as she arrived in China on a trade mission.
“The Single Malt Club China has worked hard to promote Scotch whisky for a decade and now has nearly 5,000 members throughout China,” Sturgeon told the BBC.
“It also works with 31 of our distilleries, so the support for our industry is clear, and this fund will allow Chinese whisky connoisseurs to invest in some of Scotland’s finest and rarest drams.”
Last year the SMCC imported 60,000 bottles of Scotch into China. The figure is expected to increase by 20% with the new fund in place.
During the trade mission, Sturgeon will also open the SMCC’s new Whisky Experience Centre in Beijing. The visitor attraction will host a permanent exhibition detailing the whisky production process, featuring photographs and exhibits from distilleries across Scotland.
It will also showcase single malts that are available in China.
The increased focus on Scotch comes as many whisky companies try to boost the market in China. Brown spirits in particular have been hit by the authorities’ anti-extravagance measures in the country.
Introduced in 2013 to target excessive gift giving within the state sector, the austerity drive contributed to a 23% fall in direct Scotch exports to China. Last year the trade was valued at £39 million, making China Scotch’s 26th largest market by value, according to Scotch Whisky Association figures.
The new SMCC initiative follows the introduction of a Scotch whisky private equity fund in Hong Kong last year. Launched by Rickesh Kishnani and Whyte & Mackay’s former director of rare whisky David Robertson, the Platinum Whisky Investment Fund hopes to raise the funds to invest in rare Scotch whisky stocks.