Last week Kweichow Moutai overtook Johnnie Walker-maker Diageo (deo) as the wold’s most valuable liquor maker. Now the Chinese distiller is looking to steam further ahead: targeting 15% revenue growth this year.
The market for baijiu, the hugely popular Chinese grain liquor, is worth $115 billion in total. Its leading producer Moutai’s market value comes in at $72 billion, Bloomberg reports.
Moutai’s 2017 revenue growth goals—which incorporate a volume sales target of 50,000 tons of liquor, according to a company statement—are bolstered by indications that Chinese consumer preferences are shifting to more expensive drinks. The company’s profits have continued to grow even as it has raised wholesale prices.
Lyu Chang, an analyst at securities research institute SWS Research told Bloomberg: “Moutai boasts the strongest pricing power in the industry with its strong brand awareness.”
“It has robust growth momentum and rising levels of profitability driven by rising income levels and middle-class consumers spending more,” Chang added.
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Things have not always been smooth sailing for China’s leading liquor maker. The company took a hammering at the height of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign in 2013. As China cracked down on government excess, Moutai—whose high-end liquors have long been associated with the elite—lost 40% of its share price. Since then, the company has rebounded and its stock price has more than tripled.