Cuban cigars hit record sales thanks to increasing Chinese demand

Cigars from the special edition of Trinidad brand, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, are arranged in a cigar humidor during the inauguration ceremony for the XXI Cigar Festival in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019.
Updated 19 February 2019
0

Cuban cigars hit record sales thanks to increasing Chinese demand

  • Unlike in Europe, sales in China have not been affected by toughening anti-tobacco laws

HAVANA: Boosted by growing demand from China, sales of Cuban cigars reached a record $537 million in 2018, a seven percent increase over the previous year despite global laws against tobacco, the partially state-owned Habanos said Monday.
“China has surpassed France as the second biggest market for Habanos” behind Spain, said the cigar company’s vice president Jose Maria Lopez Inchaurbe.
Sales in China grew by 55 percent with east Asia as a whole up nine percent, said Lopez.
Marketing manager Ernesto Gonzalez said the figures showed “the strength of our sales despite the difficulties faced during the year.”
The French market was hit by a 17 percent increase in taxes on tobacco products, which meant Habanos had to push up its prices by eight to 10 percent, said Lopez.
Gonzalez said the impressive figures came despite the global luxury tobacco market growing by just one percent in 2018.
Unlike in Europe, sales in China have not been affected by toughening anti-tobacco laws.
“The tobacco market regulatory environment is getting increasingly complicated,” said Lopez.
The growth also comes despite the continuing embargo on Cuban products being sold in the hugely lucrative US market.
Habanos is half-owned by Spanish tobacco firm Altadis, which is itself the property of British giant Imperial Brand.
In 2017, Habanos saw sales grow by 12 percent to reach a then-record $500 million, again pushed by a huge upsurge in Chinese demand.


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 23 March 2019
0

Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.