Chinese media reports this week that the state-owned petroleum giant Sinopec (中国石化) has signed an agreement with Domaine de Chevalier to sell French wine at 110 Sinopec "Express" (易捷) convenience stores throughout China. According to the Shenzhen Express News, with the growing number of cars on the road in China, retail industry experts say that new drivers demand "more diversified services" from gas station owners, which has led major companies like Sinopec to sign food and beverage agreements with McDonald's, KFC, the Yunnan Tea Group, and Moutai in recent years.
However, as the Shenzhen Express News goes on to point out, Sinopec's moves to increase its "non-oil" business are driven as much by simple economics as consumer demand. Sinopec currently pulls in around one billion yuan (US$150 million) per year in revenue from non-oil business segments, making it Sinopec's fastest-growing revenue stream.
Apparently Sinopec feels that French wine, along with fast food and Chinese spirits, will help that number rise even quicker. Let's just hope the drivers wait until they get home before they pop the corks.