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Spirit maker eyes Uganda as its next foreign market

Source: Time: 30 09,2022

Xinghuacun Fenjiu executives talk with Ugandan diplomats in Beijing on the possibilities of the brand entering the African country. Wen Zhaoyan / For China Daily

Executives from Xinghuacun Fenjiu Group paid a visit to the embassy of Uganda in Beijing, aiming for the renowned white liquor brand from the Shanxi city of Fenyang to enter the African country and the wider continent.

In their talks with Fred Mugisha, Uganda's deputy ambassador to China, and other diplomats, Xinghuacun Fenjiu's executives for overseas operations talked about the history of the brand and its development in the international market.

Zhang Weidong, head of the group's overseas operations, said Xinghuacun Fenjiu is one of the pioneers in China's white liquor industry to expand into global markets.

After it won a gold prize at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, the United States, in 1915, Fenjiu-branded white liquor began to attract the attention of international buyers. Since then, several Fenjiu brands, including Fenjiu and Zhuyeqing, have become popular in overseas markets. To date, Xinghuacun Fenjiu has developed a presence in more than 80 countries.

But the expo was not the beginning of the white liquor's international journey.

"It was the seven voyages by renowned Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) navigator Zheng He that marked the first peak time for Fenjiu to go global," Zhang said.

He explained that, according to historical records, Fenjiu was first used to meet the demands of sailors during their lengthy journeys. They later found the liquor was well received by residents in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa, so they brought a larger quantity of Fenjiu to sell in their later voyages.

Despite its glorious history, the Shanxi-made liquor began its large-scale expedition overseas in the early 20th century.

In recent years, Xinghuacun Fenjiu Group has accelerated its pace of globalization by forging partnerships with more overseas dealers and opening more sales outlets. Africa is the group's new target market.

Deputy Ambassador Mugisha said Uganda welcomes excellent Chinese enterprises like Xinghuacun Fenjiu and the embassy is willing to help the company establish operations there, whether they build factories or open outlets.

Xinghuacun Fenjiu International Trade is the company's arm for overseas operations. It said it has now developed a network of more than 50 dealers and more than 9,000 overseas outlets.

By Yuan Shenggao
Zhao Qingyuan contributed to this story.