Chinese internet giant Sina Corp and Sichuan-based liquor producer Wuliangye Yibin have announced they have struck a new strategic collaboration that will allow them to tokenize high-end baijiu, China’s most famous traditional alcoholic beverage.
Per a state media report, liquor drinkers and collectors can now buy and trade tokens backed by Wuliangye baijiu products using blockchain-powered buying platform Zhenjiu.
The Chinese luxury market has been rushing to embrace blockchain technology, and is keen on promising customers immutable and traceable products. The technology is being employed by companies that want to ensure the authenticity of expensive goods and collectibles.
Sina Corp, the operator of popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, says that it is among the first companies in China to launch an online retail platform of this kind.
Per a description on the company’s website, the liquor-backed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are called Wuliangye Digital Liquor Tokens. They are currently priced at around USD 197.45 each and are pegged to the value of Wuliangye liquor.
Information on each bottle of baijiu – including data on bottle origin and transfer of ownership – is stored on a decentralized digital ledger. Each bottle comes with a digital certificate of authenticity.
The company expects its baijiu sales to exceed USD 0.7 billion when the initiative launches on a blockchain-based online retail platform operated by blockchain and big data solutions company Chengdu Shangtong Times Digital Technology. The company, which is funded and incubated by Sina Corp, will oversee and manage the Wulianye liquor tracking platform’s operations.
The cooperation initiative will open up new market opportunities, the Shenzhen-listed baijiu seller said. Wulianye has been trying to increase its international presence to compete with its rival, the liquor giant Maotai.
Last year, a bottle of aged Wuliangye was sold at auction for around USD 183,132.
In China, the trading of cryptocurrencies is still banned, but blockchain and tokenization are growing increasingly popular.
In July last year, Chinese liquor wholesaler Oranco claimed that it had started testing blockchain-powered anti-counterfeit solutions.
Meanwhile, earlier in in March, EY Japan, one of the country’s “big four” accountancy firms, said it will debut a blockchain-powered traceability platform for producers, distributors of Japan’s favorite alcoholic beverage, sake.