Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 4

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40 tobaccoasia By Allen Liao The market for Chinese-style cigars has developed rapidly in recent years, along with the emergence of an overal cigar consumption boom driven by continued economic growth and increasingly im- proved living standards. Cigar markets across the country maintain an annual average growth rate of 20-30% year-on- year. Incomplete statistics show that from 2008 to 2012, the China-made cigar sales volume grew from 145 million to 326 million, with an annual av- erage increment of 22%. In 2012, Great Wall, Crown, Maoda, and General – the four major key Chinese cigar brands – accounted for 74% of the total sales volume of home-manufactured cigars, with the sales value accounting for a high of 88%. In the first half of 2013, the China-made cigar sales volume registered by the cigar-making sector reached 240 million cigars, a sharp increase of 56.3% year-on- year. Cigar consumer markets in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi'an, Wuhan, Changsha, and other Chinese cities are all on the rise. Furthermore, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) – the regulator of China's tobacco industry – has attached increasing impor- tance to the production and sales of home-manu- factured cigars over recent years. Therefore, cigar brands have actually ushered in a new opportunity and a new starting point in their development. In late 2012, STMA issued the Catalog of Key Cigar Brands of China's Tobacco Industry, defin- ing Great Wall, Crown, Maoda, and General as the four major key Chinese cigar brands, and improv- ing a package of indexes governing assessment of marketing of key cigar brands. On April 19, 2013, STMA held a symposium on cigar marketing in Chengdu City. At the meeting, STMA analyzed the outstanding problems existing in present cigar marketing and released the Opinions on Strength- ening Cigar Marketing, effectively contributing to promoting sustainable and healthy development of cigar marketing by the tobacco industry. Last June 4, STMA issued a set of opinions requiring Chinese cigar makers to further promote their marketing to a higher level as well as vigor- ously promote sustainable and healthy develop- ment of the cigar business. This set of opinions was established as an effort to boost realization of the targets and assignments in the cigar-related provisions of a general plan for the tobacco indus- Chinese-Style Cigar Market Booming Great Wall cigars hand rolled production plant

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