Renowned baijiu brand's globalization boosts promotion of Chinese culture

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)

Updated: 2023-05-26

On April 30, the Fenjiu Experience Center in Singapore welcomed officials from the Chinese embassy in Singapore.

The center was launched in December 2021 by renowned white liquor producer Xinghuacun Fenjiu Group based in China's Shanxi province.

The officials were there to attend a networking event for the promotion of the Chinese liquor and the culture associated with this time-honored brand.

Chinese diplomats praised the role that Xinghuacun Fenjiu has played in the promotion of Chinese culture in the process of its globalization.

White liquor, or baijiu, is an alcoholic beverage variety unique to China. In its centuries of development, white liquor has had a deep-rooted association with culture, arts and poetry. And Xinghuacun Fenjiu is a typical example of such an association, according to an executive at the center.

The brand Xinghuacun is actually named after a poem written by Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Du Mu. In the poem, Du described his mood during a trip on Qingming, or Tomb Sweeping Day, in April. In Chinese, Xinghuacun literally means apricot flower village.

"A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Qingming day.

The traveler's heart is going to break on the way.

Where can a liquor shop be found to drown his dismay?

A cowherd points to the apricot flower village far away."

The poem is so popular in China that almost all school children are able to recite it. This popularity has helped to make the white liquor brand Xinghuacun a household name.

History books show that the first reference of the Fenjiu brand name was made by an emperor during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577).

The ancient technique for the production of the white liquor, which has been observed for centuries, is now on China's national list of intangible cultural heritage.

The Chinese embassy's officials said Singapore has a large population with ancestral roots in China, so they have a better understanding of the Chinese culture embodied in the Xinghuacun Fenjiu liquor. On the other hand, Singapore is an international metropolis, which can play a crucial role in boosting Xinghuacun Fenjiu's globalization.

Xinghuacun Fenjiu is one of the pioneering baijiu companies of China to go global.

After it won a first 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, Xinghuacun Fenjiu brands have become popular in overseas markets. The products were first sold to Southeast Asia and East Asia and then to Europe and the Americas.

Xinghuacun Fenjiu is now among the top three exporters in China's white liquor industry. To date, its products have been sold to more than 60 countries and regions, through its 50-plus overseas dealers and more than 9,000 outlets in foreign countries.

Wu Jia contributed to this story.