Moutai Group chairman Li Baofang made it clear this week that the company will compensate any customers who can produce an intact Moutai wine (baijiu) bottle no matter when it was produced.
The statement was made in a release about the company’s operations for the first half of 2019. Li said that apart from compensation, the company must also send a letter of apology and a new bottle of wine to customers.
Moutai Group made the statement after they were accused of using 15-year-old base wine in their 30 and 50-year-old wine products.
Ordinary customers generally acknowledge that the wine has been stored in containers for 50 years. However, some have claimed that was not true, that 15-year-old base wine had been sold as older wine.
A spokesperson for Moutai Group argued that the wine has the “taste” of 50 years instead of the “age.” The group reiterated that they did not deliberately deceive consumers and that was why did not offer compensation initially.
Xing Lianchao, a lawyer leading the charge against Moutai, said the case will have a major impact on consumer goods and he is awaiting a court hearing. He told local media that Moutai has yet to officially explain itself and Li’s statement was the only public admission made to date.
The lawyer said a judge will decide the details of any compensation. As for apologies, he pointed out that Moutai owes its customers an explanation before saying sorry.
Retailers selling the wine advised customers to check the integrity of the product by reading the product labels, assessing color saturation and also the anti-counterfeit mark.
Flashlights can also be used to determine if there was a “punch mark” that validates the contents of the bottle. If there are any issues with the wine, receipts must be kept and the anti-counterfeit mark should not be tampered with.
Xing assured that as long as there is no obvious damage to wine bottles, customers can apply for compensation.
Li also expressed the company’s goal to exceed 100 billion yuan in market value, with a stock price exceeding 1,000 yuan and earning 100 billion yuan income as well.
On June 27, Kweichow Moutai stock prices broke through the 1,000 yuan mark, being valued at 1,035.60 per share. The total market value of Kweichow Moutai amounted to 1.24 trillion yuan.
However, the Chinese liquor giant also has its share of trouble. Currently, it faces more than 700 litigation claims, with more than 70 cases filed in courts. A number of them include intellectual property lawsuits and various business disputes.