Getting Hold of the Consumers in China: Education and Networking

This was meant to be a longer post titled “Starting Up a Wine Business in China” based on Ruby Red Fine Wine experience. I even wrote the draft but realized, while reading it yesterday, that the one thing that really impressed me about them was getting lost in the middle of all the information… So I’ve decided to cut it short and focus on why I decided to write about them: their absolute obsession with educating and networking with the consumer.

It works for them. 40% of their business comes from private customers. There are two reasons why this number is impressive:

1) their entire retail infrastructure is their cellar in Shanghai and their website…

2) their business is not small, as they also cover more than 40 cities around China through distributors.

So, let me quote one of the founding partners, Kylie Bisman, on the story of how they started up their adventure selling wine to the Chinese consumer:

“Before we even had a wine cellar, before we even had stock, Simon [Simon Zhou- co-founder] was running tastings. We were buying wine from other wine importers and running tastings. Simon was out every night, networking… We found a little café close to where our cellar is now, and we were running tastings out of this café… Simon was always on the phone ringing people and organizing more tastings….”

And they have kept the education & networking obsession alive:

“We’ve run thousands of tasting events since we started. Some of those run publicly and are announced in our website, but we also run a lot of corporate events for Chinese companies (banks, technology companies, companies that see wine tastings as a nice team building exercise with a fun and educational twist for their staff). Afterwards, we keep in touch with these people. We email our offers and news updates to them”

Who has a similar experience?


  1. Nice post. I really like real example stories. Stories of entrepreneurs staying close to customers should be regularly read by business people. Super nice blog btw.