FOOD & WINE

Alibaba's Tmall hosts Hong Kong actress Carina Lau's online wine store

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 June, 2015, 8:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 August, 2015, 10:22am

Hong Kong movie star Carina Lau launched her online wine and champagne brand on Chinese retailer Tmall on Thursday, thus extending her business empire from cosmetics, fashion and jewellery to include alcoholic beverages.

Operated by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Tmall serves as the largest e-commerce platform for stores in China.

Lau spent the day meeting industry players at Vinexpo, the world's biggest wine and spirits fair, which takes place in southern France every year, she said on her Sina Weibo account, China’s largest microblogging platform.

She also visited two vineyards in the country in recent weeks, she said in a commercial for her new online store posted on the site.

The 49-year-old registered her company, Carina International E-commerce, in Hong Kong three months ago. 

Her wine was selling on Tmall on Thursday for between 59 yuan and 298 yuan (US$9.5 to US$48) a bottle. She said she was deliberately keeping the prices down, at least for the first few days, to generate more traffic and keep the brand widely accessible.

“I want my customers to spend less while enjoying genuine wines imported from France”, she said on the commercial.

Lau is not the first Chinese celebrity to enter the wine industry. 

Actress Vicky Zhao Wei purchased Chateau Monlot, a top-drawer French vineyard, in 2011, but does not have an online component. 

READ MORE: Wealthy snap up more French wineries

It is also not Lau’s first attempt to set up an online business. 

She launched a brand of whitening facial masks last year on China’s Jiayou Home Shopping TV channel, as well as on WeChat, the country’s top instant messaging mobile app, operated by Tencent. 

To boost awareness and sales, Lau also released a mobile app so users could buy more of her products and share skin care tips.

Born near Shanghai in the leafy city of Suzhou in east China’s Jiangsu province, Lau emigrated to Hong Kong in her teens and wed famous Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in 2008. They both appeared in Wong Kar-wai’s Days of Being Wild, the same director’s 2046, and Andrew Lau’s Infernal Affairs 2.

In addition to her other business interests, Lau also owns a number of nightclubs, including some in Hong Kong and Shanghai.