The Murky Background Behind a Company Selling Chinese ‘Maotai’ Hard Liquor for Over $600,000

By Sunny Chao

Can you imagine shelling out more than half a million dollars for a bottle of potent Chinese hard liquor?

A brand of Maotai, China’s most famous type of distilled liquor, recently sold one bottle for 3.78 million yuan (approximately $601,200) on a popular online shopping platform. The colossal price caused a lot of media attention. Hong Kong media reported that the exorbitant bottle was made by a liquor company with a connection to state-owned firms.

Made in the town of Maotai in China’s Guizhou Province, the liquor is the preferred drink among Chinese Communist Party officials. The drink was recently served during the state dinner for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The state-run newspaper Beijing Youth Daily reported on March 31 that the extraordinarily expensive Maotai was sold by the liquor shop, Googut Wine and Spirits (“Gede Yingxiang” in Chinese), via the Chinese e-retailer platform, JD.com.

On the liquor shop’s website, it introduces that Maotai bottle as being produced in the 1950s—if true, it has been aged for a minimum of 58 years.

Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily reported on April 1 that Googut Wine and Spirits is the only shop on JD.com that sells Maotai liquor priced at more than one million yuan a bottle. The shop claims it is the largest retailer of vintage liquors, with more than 400 chain stores in China, mainly in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan.

Chinese financial services firm Cofco Trust released a document in 2014 on its website, explaining Googut’s background. Googut was established in 2012 and has shares in a company called Great Wall Securities, which counts several state-owned enterprises as its shareholders, including Huaneng, a state-owned electricity utility firm.

The Apple Daily report said the prices of famous liquors like Maotai have been on the rise in the past 20 years, likely due to price speculation from such companies with connections to state-owned enterprises. Chinese netizens expressed their fury that state-owned firms would get involved in businesses to make huge profits off consumers.

From The Epoch Times

 

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