• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 5:50pm

More Chinese cash flowing into French vineyards

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:09am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:09am

The number of mainland investors pouring millions of dollars into French vineyards has risen sharply in recent years, but the trend has divided locals.

Critics are calling for wineries to remain under French control, while supporters have welcomed the injection of funds to rebuild infrastructure.

Between 2009 and 2012, the number of estates in the famous wine-producing region of Bordeaux owned by Chinese investors jumped from two to 25. The figure is now about 50.

"Bordeaux is more open to foreign investments," said Thomas Jullien, Asia representative for the Bordeaux Wine Council, in mid-2012, adding that "new investors have spent money on updating the winemaking facilities, equipment and buildings".

Kok Lam, the 46-year-old Hong Kong-based billionaire who is feared dead after a helicopter crash on Friday at a Bordeaux vineyard he had just bought, was part of a wave of Chinese investors who looked to French wineries for expansion.

The trend has caught the eye of France's money laundering investigators, who released a report this year highlighting the need for "increased vigilance" over the sale of vineyards to Chinese buyers. It noted a "growing presence of investors with ties to China" and that some buyers would use tax havens to hide the origins of cash used to purchase vineyards.

Chinese investors owned about 50 French vineyards in Bordeaux alone, said Jane Anson, a Bordeaux-based wine correspondent. She said Chinese were expected to overtake Belgians as the largest nationality of owners in the winemaking region once another five to 10 estates were sold to Chinese investors.

Another trend was that some early Chinese buyers were already selling their vineyards. "Some Chinese who bought a few years ago are reselling. The cycle is speeding up, and they are selling to other Chinese," she said.


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This article is now closed to comments

You mean its not fake when they sell it...but once it's in China, all best are off. As far as sending money, they launder it through macau casino's for 10% off the top. It's quite common these days.
I already mentioned this in my book "Toxic Capitalism". However, there is more to that. One reason Chinese buy the vineyards is to make sure they get genuine French wine, with all the fakes being around. There is no more trust in China for what is being sold. As long as the "investors" respect the local wine culture and do not transform the vineyards and castles into Chinese islands off-limits to others, nothing wrong with that. But knowing the strict SAFE regulations, how did the money arrive there? What is the origin of the money? Income tax paid in China? Just try as a normal Chinese (or foreigner) to send USD 10,000 to Europe. Good luck.
Once again countries getting into bed financially with the largest human rights offender in the history of this planet. The brutal Chinese Communist Party practices torture, slavery, organ harvesting and murder in its attempted genocide of the tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong practitioners who live in China yet Western Governments are lined up to try to make a few filthy dollars any way possible. The U.N. even gave Red China a seat this year on its Human Rights Council. Shameful.
We Chinese have a saying: Those who knows what’s wrong & intentionally commits the crime, he deserves double the penalty. So if the UN & your free Western Democracies, knowing fully well the atrocities you allege China has committed, still went ahead & condoned China, don’t you think they’re more evil than Satan or Hitler or whoever you think is worst?
All this indicates is that there will be a future crash in the price of French vineyards. Once Mainland speculation gets going, its time for everybody else to head for the hills.
The vineyards must've cost a couple of hundred of millions. How do you smuggle that amount out of China into Macau in the first place? Once the money is out, why bring it to Macau? Why not directly into France? For me I sometimes use the underground banks for money into HK. You pay an amount of RMB in China & you collect HK$ from HongKong. Do not know whether it works for hundred of millions. I'm not in their class.


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