September 2020

Dominican manufacturers approved for the Chinese market. In November of 2019, China Tobacco hosted the first-ever Cigar Expo in the Asian country. But before the two-day trade show, a delegation of China Tobacco traveled to the Dominican Republic. Not once, but several times. They went to visit Procigar, the association of Dominican cigar manufacturers. 

Together with Procigar, China Tobacco selected which factories to visit. They visited many, and some even multiple times. From all the factories they visited, a select number were invited to come to the International Cigar Expo in Shenzhen. And from those factories, a few brands are selected to be able to be distributed in China.

The Dominican manufacturers that are approved for the Chinese markets are Arturo Fuente, La Palma, Davidoff, La Flor Dominicana, PDR, and La Aurora. Other factories, such as Tabacalera El Artista, are trademarked in China but are awaiting approval.

China and cigars

The tobacco market in China is enormous. Not just for cigarettes, but also for cigars. China grows a lot of tobacco and produces a lot of cigars. Not just machine-made cigars, but handmade longfillers as well. With just local tobacco, but also blends of local tobacco with tobacco from the Caribbean. The country has four factories, China Tobacco Sichuan Industrial Co. (CTSIC), China Tobacco Anhui, China Tobacco Hubei, and China Tobacco Shandong. Great Wall is the brand that is most famous outside of China. But the cigars are all produced for the local market.

In 2014, China Industrial Tobacco Company claimed that they make and sell 250 million cigars in China. During a presentation at IPCPR, that number was boosted by the Chinese. These numbers cannot be confirmed due to the political system in China. But if those claims are true, China produces about 33% of the total production of premium handmade cigars. All other countries combined produce little over 500 million premium handmade cigars. 

But even if the sales numbers in China are overexaggerated, it still proves that the demand for cigars in China is gigantic. Being allowed to export to, and sell into, China can mean a huge boost in sales for the Dominican manufacturers that are approved for the Chinese market. China already surpassed France as the second-largest market for Habanos with a 55% growth in 2018.

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