China embraces CHEERS wine

When Claudia Masüger arrived in China with a dozen bottles of wine, she had no idea what was in store. Markus Hungerbühler charts her rise.

CHEERS stores in China
CHEERS stores in China

Claudia Masüger, a 47-year-old Swiss woman, arrived in Beijing on January 8, 2008, bearing just 12 bottles of wine. Speaking only basic Chinese, she offered tastings on the streets of Beijing and other cities, her ultimate aim to make drinking wine fun and affordable for young people. By interviewing staff members at local retailers, wine bars, hotels, import businesses and even lawyers, she learned about the local culture and built a personal network. And she quickly realised that China was a difficult market. In those days, wine was generally not seen as an affordable drink for everyone, but a prestigious gift to be given to officials and business partners, or consumed in Western-style restaurants. 

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