Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 1

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54 tobaccoasia With the Asia Pacific region (APAC) showing the cigar market's biggest growth in terms of value over the last five years, Tobacco Asia talks to re- gional expert Eric Piras to get his views on the current state of play. Eric, who is based in Hong Kong, has nearly 20 years' experience in this region's cigar indus- try. Previously the regional director for The Pa- cific Cigar Company, the exclusive distributor for Habanos in Asia-Pacific and Canada, in 1999 he joined Altadis (later acquired by Imperial To- bacco Group) and travels the globe setting up and strengthening distribution channels as business development director, premium cigar division at Imperial Tobacco. We spoke to Eric ahead of his appearance as a speaker at the joint exhibitions ProTobEx Asia and Inter-tabac Asia, which will be held in Bali, in February. The exhibition is co-organized by Oc- tober Multimedia, the publisher of this magazine. TA: What is the overall position of consumption patterns around Asia? EP: In Asia Pacific the main markets are Greater China, including Hong Kong and Macao, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Australia. Those markets drive cigar consumption patterns, trends and retail pricing. Would you say consumption is growing in the region? Led by China, this part of the world has shown consistent double digit volume growth yearly since 2005. The market doubled reaching 545 million units in 2010, up from 271 million units in 2005. Face To Face with Eric Piras An Insider's View on Cigars in Asia Pacific "Malaysia has a good retail network with tobacco specialists, who offer a wider product variety and are better able to give advice to customers" Staff Report

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