Hong Kong-based distributor Silver Base Sales Manager Alex Chung (left) and Marco Tse. Chung told The Moodie Report: “For the first half of 2004, we aimed to get the product into all major airports in Southeast Asia, and that has been achieved. For the second half of 2004, we want to introduce it to the European and US markets.”

CANNES. Chinese cigarette brand Hongtashan Premium, which was developed for export, is having its distribution base expanded to Europe to target the increasing numbers of Chinese travellers heading to the region. The move follows the recent landmark easing of visa restrictions.

Alex Chung, Manager of Hong Kong-based distributor Silver Base Sales, told The Moodie Report: “In the first half of 2004 we aimed to get the product into all major airports in Southeast Asia, and that has been achieved. In the second half of the year we want to introduce it to the European and US markets.”

Retailers from London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, San Francisco and Amsterdam airports expressed interest in the product during the TFWA World Exhibition last week, and they are now firming up details with Silver Base.

“We’re making good progress,” said Chung. “We hope to list our products in these new locations by early next year.”

Southeast Asian airports began selling the cigarettes from April this year. Of these locations, Singapore Changi Airport currently sells the highest volume.

Besides cigarettes, Silver Base is also bringing Wuliangye Chinese wine to travel retail in Europe and the US. Already available in southeast Asian airports, Wuliangye is the most popular white wine in China, said Chung. The rice and wheat wine from Szechuan is available in abv strengths of 68% and 52%.

“Besides the Chinese, the Taiwanese and the South Koreans also like this wine,” said Chung.