Suntory partners with China’s Alibaba for whisky sale

Japan’s leading beverage company, Suntory, is partnering with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba group to sell whisky and other liquors in mainland China.

A screen grab of Suntory’s online shop through Beam Suntory on Tmall.com

This will mark the first foray by Suntory’s main business into China’s fast-growing marketplace, reported Nikkei.

Suntory has opened a store on Alibaba’s retail platform Tmall.com through Beam Suntory, its US distillery and group member. The Japanese company purchased Jim Beam in 2014 for US$16 billion.

The store has already started selling Jim Beam and Marker’s Mark bourbon and Courvoisier Cognac in China. Other of its renowned Japanese whiskies including Hibiki and Yamazaki are also available through the online shop.

In addition to its online presence, the deal will also allow Suntory to sell its liquors through Alibaba’s bricks and mortar shops including RT-Mart superstores and Hema supermarkets.

China is already the world’s biggest spirits market. By 2020, sales of spirits in China are forecast to reach 1.2 billion 9-litre cases by 2020, according to a report by Vinexpo and IWSR.

Suntory is also the parent company of ASC Fine Wines, one of the oldest wine importers in China.

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