Home Drinks Alcoholic Drinks Curious Case of Selling Alcohol Through Service Station Convenience Stores in China

Curious Case of Selling Alcohol Through Service Station Convenience Stores in China

Drink driving
China has a strict law on drink driving and drunk driving. The latest legislation in 2011 specifically mentioned the penalties are “drink drivers risk the seizure of their driving licence and a fine. Drunk Drivers can be detained until sober and lose their licence for five years. Drunk Drivers involved in severe accidents face criminal charge and the loss of their licence for life.”

In the two years after implementing a stricter law on drink driving in 2011, the number of cases of drinking under the influence of alcohol fell by 39.3% to 871,000 compared with 2009-2011, according to the Traffic Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security. The number of drunk driving cases also declined 42.7% to 122,000 cases over the same period.

Despite the tough legislation, the government seems to be oblivious to the fact that alcoholic drinks are easily available at petrol station convenience stores. Motorists stopping to fill up their fuel tanks at Sinopec and PetroChina petrol stations are greeted with alcoholic beverages when they step inside the service station. So much for responsible drinking.

Sinopec owns the largest number of convenience stores (C-stores) in China through its EasyJoy network of C-stores in petrol stations. At the end of 2013, Sinopec operated 23,000 EasyJoy outlets with non-fuel sales reaching RMB 13.3 billion (USD 2.15 bn). PetroChina operated 14,799 petrol stations with uSmiles convenient stores at the end of 2013.

Sinopec Ejoy365.com website has an extensive list of alcoholic drinks for sale online

Major alcoholic beverage companies in China including COFCO, Yanghe, Tsingtao and China Resources Snow Breweries are key partners of Sinopec and PetroChina, supplying their convenience stores with beer, yellow wine, red wine and the highly potent baijiu, usually with 40 to 60% ABV.

Hong Kong-listed Guocang Group Ltd, a China-based alcoholic beverages distributor, has recently became a partner of uSmile for the whole of 2014. Under the deal, the company will supply uSmile with liquor products.

Drive through liquor store in Australia

But thinking of it, uSmile and EasyJoy are actually serving the same role as the drive through retail liquor stores in Australia. Such drive through retail liquor store format is currently not available in China. Therefore, uSmile and EasyJoy petrol station convenience stores are actually hybrid drive through liquor store catering to drinkers who happen to be behind the wheel. It is hard to find parking in China these days.


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