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    Chinese Wine E-Commerce Sites Court Middle Class With New Features

    With annual consumption among China's emerging middle class still a drop in the bucket compared to France and Italy, companies are adopting popular online sales models in an attempt to actually get individuals to buy.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Technology

    New B2C Startups Experimenting With Daily Deal Format#

    Wine is definitely a hot topic in China, but with annual consumption among the country's emerging middle class still a drop in the bucket compared to France and Italy, companies are adopting popular online sales models in an attempt to actually get individuals to buy. Joining YesMyWine.com, which has established itself as one of the largest B2C wine and spirits e-commerce sites in China since its launch in November 2008, recently the Beijing startup Moooton (木桶网) launched a consumer-facing site adopting several features popular with the daily-deal crowd.

    Unlike YesMyWine, which sells wines ranging in price from around US$10 to "sky's the limit" bottles like a $4,126 Château Pétrus, Penn-Olson notes today that Moooton sticks to a mid-range price-point, with its most expensive bottle, a Chateau Mont-Perat, priced at a modest 1,000 RMB (US$158). Though the wine offerings may not be nearly as varied as the likes of YesMyWine or Yangjiu.com, Moooton boasts a few bells and whistles that should appeal to younger shoppers. Along with daily deals, Mooton shows a deep understanding of its home market by including a section devoted to gifting -- one of the most common reasons for most middle-class Chinese to buy a nice bottle of wine to begin with. Other features are somewhat more quirky, Penn-Olson notes, such as a search preset to help users find wines ranked by the western astrological symbol of the buyer.

    Though as a new startup, we'll have to see whether Moooton finds a receptive audience or falls victim to the anticipated China e-commerce shakeout of 2012, its smart reading of target demographics means it probably has a decent shot. China's wine market remains dominated by French wines at the high end and mass-market domestic wines at the low end, but sites like Moooton devoted to the mid-range -- wines priced between 200-600 yuan (US$31-95) -- could benefit from what's arguably becoming the most dynamic segment, populated by American, Australian, Spanish and South American wines.

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