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WSET gains official approval to resume business in China

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has received official approval to continue its business operations in China.

The trust, which had to suspend business in the Chinese Mainland at the end of January 2021, has spent the last 11 months working to meet the requirements for resuming business and has remained committed to the Chinese market. The approval means that it can set up an office as an overseas non-government organisation (ONGO) and continue providing courses to drinks enthusiasts in the country.

WSET has appointed Ms. Willa Yang as chief representative to head up its operations in China who has previously held leadership roles at Wine Australia’s China Office and the Australian Trade Commission as well as running her own wine consultancy business for several years.

To support the approval and move forwards with its commitment to Chinese Mainland, the WSET’s new office in Shanghai will be added to its global network of offices in London, Hong Kong SAR, and West Hartford (Connecticut, USA).

WSET chief executive Ian Harris said: “I am delighted that we are now officially approved to resume business in China and, through our network of course providers, we will be able to start offering our qualifications to students once more. I am extremely grateful to our 100 plus Chinese course providers and their students who have supported us over the last 11 months. WSET has a history of over 15 years of empowering drinks professionals and enthusiasts in China through wine, spirits and sake education. My team and I are excited to be able to continue our educational mission.”

Yang added: “It is my great honour to join the WSET team. We enter 2022 with excitement and anticipation of great things to come. China’s wine and spirit category has been in continual growth and the demand for our qualifications has never been greater. I look forward to working with our team in China, as well as our course providers, to lead the way in wine and spirits education in 2022 and beyond.”

The WSET is now working closely with its course providers and the Chinese authorities and hopes that WSET courses and exams will restart following the Chinese New Year holiday period.

The trust recently introduced a new initiatives including paving the way for indigenous students in Australia to make a career in the drinks industry more accessible and launched a virtual Events Hub. Additionally, the WSET has celebrated a record number of global drinks professionals and enthusiasts earning new qualifications during the pandemic showing that, despite challenges faced, it is committed to broadening the scope and reach of drinks education for all.

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