Hong Kong looks set to overtake United States as the world's biggest wine auction venue, according to figures published Monday, dpa reported with reference to the South China Morning Post.
Auctions in the first six months brought wine sales totalling 400 million Hong Kong dollars (51 million US dollars).
Experts predicted the year-end total will top sales in the United States, which have been hit by the global recession, falling 36 per cent in 2009 to 106 million US dollars.
Wine consultant David Wainwright told the Post that given the robust demand for wines throughout Asia and in mainland China, he expected Hong Kong to surpass the United States.
Hong Kong became the first free wine port among major economies in 2008 when the government abolished all duties on wine.
Since then wine trade has soared with a number of high-profile auctions and imports rising to to 2.3 billion Hong Kong dollars (296 million US dollars) throughout 2008, 80 per cent higher than the previous year.