Hong Kong leads world's wine auctions

Hong Kong is now the world's largest auction centre for fine wine.

That is according to figures unveiled this month by Hong Kong's financial secretary, John Tsang.

Hong Kong - $230m in wine auction sales in 2011

Tsang states that the city saw $230m in wine auction sales in 2011, and has witnessed annual wine imports rise from $200m in 2007 to $1.2bn last year, thanks in large part to a lifting of tax duties on wine in 2008, reports China Daily.

More than 15 new wine storage cellars have been established in Hong Kong in the past three years, Bloomberg reported recently.

China is already the world's biggest importer of wine.

Rupert Hoogewerf, who compiles China's Rich List, recently told the UK's Telegraph newspaper that the country's consumers "are gradually becoming more appreciative of wine, and less driven by snobbery," adding that China is set to become a mainstream wine-drinking region once the sector has suitably matured.

Recent auction figures appear to bear this out, with values for many of the finest Bordeaux undergoing a correction this year following a frenzy of bidding from Chinese buyers in recent times that had sent prices soaring.

The Liv-Ex 50, which tracks the price of leading Bordeaux vintages, was down by 18.2% in October compared with 12 months earlier, although it is up 195% on 10 years' ago.

According to Barclays' 2012 Wealth Insights report, collectibles such as wine and jewellery form 16.6% of Chinese high-net worth individuals' wealth, considerably more than the US (9%) and the UK (7%).

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