A Chinese firm has taken a majority stake in a Bordeaux vineyard, the latest move by China into the world of French wine.
A holding company called HongKong A and A International paid an undisclosed sum for the stake in Chateau Richelieu, at a property once owned by infamous French statesman Cardinal de Richelieu.
Chateau Richelieu, in the southwestern French region famed for its high-class wines, is a 17-hectare property surrounded by 14 hectares of vines.
It was previously owned by Dutchman Arjen Pen and 17 other shareholders of different nationalities.
MK Finance, a company which advised HongKong A and A in its investment, said the Chinese group aimed to strengthen the vineyard’s presence in the burgeoning Asian market.
In 2008, exports of Bordeaux wine to China jumped 60%, with a turnover of 53 million euros ($78 million), according to the Bordeaux’s wine producers’ association.
The Chinese company has previously specialised in the areas of golf, property and luxury clothing.
Grape Wall of China reported that MK Finance said in a statement: ‘In order to respond to strong Chinese demand for French wine, and particularly of Bordeaux wine, Chateau Richelieu decided to forge an Asian partnership with the aim of distributing top of the range produce.’
This is the second foothold gained by a Chinese firm in the French wine industry, after the purchase in January 2008 by property group Longhai International Trading of Chateau Latour-Laguens, also for an undisclosed sum.