China is showing clear signs of recovery with estimates that now 90-95% of businesses are back to work, and consumers are shopping again. However, many businesses are still reeling from the shutdowns of the past few months, amid predictions that it will be at least another month before things get back to ‘normal’.
Many restaurants and bars are re-opening and engaging in PR and promotion to reignite business. Restaurateurs are reporting a gradual return of business, with safety measures such as temperature and ID checks on entry, cutlery individually wrapped in plastic, staff wearing masks and gloves, and fewer tables to allow for spacing.
The China Food & Drink Fair in Chengdu and associated events have been postponed a second time, after the initial rescheduling to late May. Decanter Fine Wine Encounter Shanghai, scheduled for November 2020, has been cancelled; ProWine Shanghai is still scheduled to go ahead mid-November, as is the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE).
As a result of COVID-19, NZW decided to instead focus on online education, leveraging our well-established education programme, running since 2013 with a range of different education partners across China. By moving quickly, we have hosted four livestreaming education sessions since late February, reaching over 17,500 participants, as well as adding more than 800 active new followers for our Wechat official account.
In addition, we are developing a Wechat Mini-App to help streamline information on New Zealand wine in China and support our future projects and events.
We are also holding a webinar with China market expert Ian Ford, co-author of the NZW Guide to China Market, in mid-May. Registration information will shortly be available here.
For User-Pays activities, NZW has cancelled the May 2020 edition of our popular NZ Wine Fairs in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. Instead, we have created an online national pavilion at a newly-created online expo hosted by Lookvin, taking place mid-May, and more than 20 wine brands have signed up to participate. We expect to see more of these online expos cropping up and will be watching results closely.
After months of intense social upheaval and political unrest, COVID-19 has put further stress on the city’s beleaguered F&B industry. The city has banned gatherings of more than four people at public venues such as restaurants, while nightclubs, bars and pubs are closed for an extended period of shutdown.
Vinexpo HK, rescheduled to early July, is looking increasingly unlikely following the withdrawal of Wines of Chile as Country of Honour. NZW’s planned seminar on Sustainability at the expo is no longer going ahead.
After initial success in controlling the virus, Singapore has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 and the government has extended the ‘circuit breaker’ Lockdown until 1 June.
Key on-premise players were down 50-60% in March, likely to fall further in April due to the closures of bars/nightclubs/KTV bars and other entertainment venues. The entire city is now on official Lockdown, with all workers in non-essential services now working from home, and both public and private gatherings of any size banned.
The proposed ‘Bring NZ to Singapore’ activity is on hold indefinitely.
NZW commissioned a Guide to the Singapore Market, which is currently with our Design team and should be ready for members in the coming weeks. We are planning a webinar in late May with its writers to help pull out some of the key takeaways. Registration information will be available here.
The Japanese government has not fixed a Lockdown, instead declaring a state of emergency that will remain in place until May 6 in Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Hyogo and Fukuoka.
However, the Tokyo metropolitan government has requested restaurants and bars to stop serving alcohol after 7pm and close by 8pm. The government has allowed sales of alcohol (of existing listings or from existing suppliers) for takeout and delivery, introducing a new 6-month alcohol sales licence. It is reported that liquor stores saw increase of 10% in spending as bars closed.
NZW has cancelled a planned seminar and New Zealand Wine Tasting, due to take place mid-June, and is instead planning a social media campaign.