China Food

Maotai, Guizhou, quietly “cut the fan”


“ 
Guizhou Maotai, which earned 160 million yuan on
, had a brilliant performance in the first half of the year, but the dealers who had made great contributions were not happy, and their territory was gradually shrinking by Guizhou Maotai.
 ”

Author: Zhang Jikang, editor: Zhang Fang

Source: AI financial agency (ID: aicjnews)

 
The gold absorption ability of Guizhou Maotai, the “wine king”, has reached a new level. Not long ago, the news that Guizhou Maotai earns 160 million yuan a day hit the microblog hot search. Netizens commented that it was the well deserved “king of a shares” and even joked that “Maotai technology really prospered the country”.
The data are from the report card of the first half of the year submitted by Guizhou Maotai in early August: the revenue in the first half of the year was 57.617 billion yuan, an increase of 17.38% year-on-year; The net profit attributable to the parent company was 29.794 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 20.85%, and the daily net profit was 163 million yuan. In the same period of last year, this figure was 135 million yuan, and the gold absorption capacity has jumped significantly in just one year. Five years ago, the daily net income of Maotai in Guizhou was only tens of millions of yuan.
Although the performance of Guizhou Maotai is brilliant, the dealers who have made great contributions are not happy. Since the second half of 2016, Guizhou Maotai has gradually weakened their influence. Up to now, Guizhou Maotai has made qualitative progress in “reducing fan”.
In the first half of 2016 and before, there was only one source of revenue for Guizhou Maotai, that is, relying on the wholesale agency channels represented by dealers. However, the situation has changed quietly since then.
Since the 2016 annual report, Guizhou Maotai first disclosed the income of direct sales channels represented by self-employed. At that time, the direct sales channels were unknown, and the annual income was only 3.48 billion yuan, while the wholesale agency channels were ten times as many as the direct sales channels, reaching 35.36 billion yuan. After six years of efforts, Guizhou Maotai achieved remarkable results in “cutting off the vassal state”.
In the first half of 2022, the direct sales channel income of Guizhou Maotai made a great leap forward, with an increase of 120% from 9.5 billion yuan in the same period of the previous year to 20.95 billion yuan, contributing 36.4% to the total revenue. On the contrary, after two years of slight growth, the wholesale agency channels, which had maintained double-digit growth for consecutive years, declined for the first time, with revenue of 36.61 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 7.32%.
Behind this, the number of dealers in Guizhou Maotai is declining sharply. According to the financial report data, in the third quarter of 2018, the number of Maotai dealers in Guizhou was as high as 3433, but in the first half of 2022, this number directly dropped to 2188, which is equivalent to a reduction of more than 1000 in less than four years, a decrease of 36%.

Maotai’s “cutting fan” is in progress

Pan Ting is a liquor seller located in Chaoyang District, Beijing. Her store covers an area of about 70 or 80 square meters, half of which is Maotai. The 53 degree flying Maotai has a whole cabinet. Many people are always attracted by the red and white wine bottles in this cabinet when they pass by, and then stop to watch.
Pan Ting at the beginning of the year
In those years, the revenue source of Guizhou Maotai still relied on dealers all over the country, and the wholesale agency income has always accounted for the majority, contributing about 90% of the total revenue. However, the change has been taking place quietly. The growth rate of Maotai direct sales channels is increasing year by year, but the income from wholesale agency channels is shrinking.
This is a deliberate result of Guizhou Maotai. According to the 2017 annual report, the wholesale agency channel income of Guizhou Maotai was 51.92 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 46.8%. Since then, the growth rate of this income has been declining year by year. However, before 2019, the income of Guizhou Maotai from wholesale agency channels can still maintain a double-digit high-speed growth. Since 2020, the growth rate of this income has been negligible by Maotai, and it has dropped from two digits to single digits.
In the first half of 2020, Guizhou Maotai wholesale agency channel revenue was 38.76 billion yuan, an increase of only 2.4% year-on-year; By the end of 2021, the revenue of wholesale agency channels was 82.03 billion yuan, with a year-on-year growth rate of 0.55%. The first half of 2022 will be a historic turning point.
According to the semi annual report just released by Guizhou Maotai, the revenue from wholesale agency channels was 36.61 billion yuan, which declined for the first time, with a year-on-year decrease of 7.32%, and the contribution to Maotai’s revenue dropped sharply to 63.6%. On the contrary, Guizhou Maotai’s direct sales revenue reached a record high, breaking the 20 billion yuan barrier, reaching 20.95 billion yuan, which was close to the annual revenue of 2021, and its contribution to the total revenue soared to 36.4%. Among them, I Maotai contributed 4.4 billion yuan in the three months since its launch.
Behind the change in the performance structure of Guizhou Maotai, it means that there has been a qualitative progress in Maotai’s “cutting off vassal ships”. In the past four years, although the leadership of Maotai has been changed several times, from Li Baofang, Gao Weidong to Ding Xiongjun, the strategy of “cutting off the fan” has remained unchanged. The number of Maotai dealers has been cut down again and again. In less than four years, it has decreased by more than 1000, and only 2188 in the first half of 2022.
Once made great contributions
Zhou Wen told Caijing Tianxia weekly that the main purpose of Guizhou Maotai’s reduction of dealers is to recover the quota. According to his understanding, the quota of the dealers that have been cut ranges from 5 tons to 20 tons. Maotai will distribute the recovered quota to the direct sales channels, thereby increasing the supply of direct sales channels.
The reasons for being laid off are different. Some do not pay on time, and some violate the provisions of Maotai that forbids transfer in different places. For these dealers, the steps of Maotai are also very “humanized”. Generally speaking, the first step is to reduce the quota, and the second step is to completely cancel their dealer qualification.
When Guizhou Maotai dealers receive the layoff documents, it means that another dealer has lost a fixed annual income of 10 million yuan. At the same time, he will also face the crisis of performance contraction across the board. Dealers who can’t wring their arms can only choose to accept this fact.
There are many star dealers in the dealer team that have been “cut off”. For example, he served as Deputy Secretary of the Maotai Guangdong Friendship Association
At the end of 2013, at the annual dealer conference of Maotai, the key word of the conference was “weather together”. Chen Min, the then Secretary of the Party committee of Maotai Group, said, “the dealers here are no longer discussing the extraordinary achievements as in previous years, but jointly making suggestions for Maotai.”
From the perspective of many old dealers, Maotai is a “warm” and “emotional” enterprise. At the annual dealer conference, Maotai will issue the dealers who have cooperated for more than 20 years with the “through thick and thin” award. For the dealers who grow up together with Guizhou Maotai, this honor is very heavy.
In 2016, with the gradual recovery of the market, the relationship between Maotai and dealers became tense with hoarding and speculation. Affected by the Maotai quota system, dealers in various regions have a very high right to speak. Some dealers use the distribution right to raise prices from time to time. Feitian Maotai, whose ex factory price remains unchanged, is sold at a sky high price step by step. The terminal price is nearly out of control, and even the situation of more regulation and control.
A person close to the dealers told Caijing Tianxia weekly that after 2016, Maotai strengthened its management of dealers, and almost all dealers whose distribution rights were cancelled were affected by the gray channels in the past.

Li Baofang, the then chairman of Guizhou Maotai, also said in public that “a very small number of dealers have added fuel to the flames, openly obeying but secretly disobeying, thinking that it is the ‘profit harvest period’ and advocating the deregulation of the market. They are not satisfied with the profits they have earned, and they are as crazy as drug trafficking.”

This made Maotai firm its determination to “cut off the fan”, and since then, Maotai has vigorously promoted the direct sales channel; On the one hand, the wholesale agency channels were vigorously suppressed.
Huge interest margin behind
Affected by the environment, the core product of Guizhou Moutai, 53 degree flying Moutai, is a scarce resource, and the annual output is fixed.
From 2018 to 2020, the output of Maotai liquor was stable at about 50000 tons. Until 2021, affected by the expansion of production capacity, the production capacity of Maotai liquor was expanded to 56500 tons. However, due to various factors, it is difficult for Maotai to continuously expand production capacity.
Therefore, if Guizhou Maotai wants to increase its revenue growth, it must start from other places. Zhongtai Securities said in the Research Report: “the inability to raise the price freely is one of the main reasons for the slowdown of Maotai’s growth. The growth space of Maotai liquor in the future mainly depends on the price. How to flexibly raise the price per ton in a market-oriented manner is an important reform direction of Maotai.”
Compared with the traditional wholesale agency channels, the gross profit rate of direct sales channels is higher. According to the 2021 annual report, the gross profit rate of Maotai wholesale agency channel is 90.3%, which is as high as 96.12% compared with that of direct sales channel.
The gross profit rate of 6% is enough to contribute a considerable increase in performance. If the sales in 2021 are all used in direct sales channels and the average price remains unchanged, Maotai’s liquor revenue in 2021 will directly double. It can be seen from the 100ml Feitian Moutai sold on I Moutai that the official guiding price of each bottle is 399 yuan
Xiao Zhuqing, an analyst in the liquor industry, believes that due to the social attribute of Maotai liquor, the traditional dealers of Maotai in Guizhou can be regarded as a platform for business communication with high-end people in other regions, and this has also become the core competitiveness of dealers’ online and offline channel networks.
Nowadays, Guizhou Maotai is facing the problem of “to be, or not to be” by Shakespeare. If it still relies on dealers as in the past, Guizhou Maotai will never be able to obtain the market price control right and its revenue will not be able to increase; However, if we start to carry out the reform of direct sales channels, it may completely affect the interests of dealers, and the core basic market of Maotai’s revenue will be greatly affected.
How to find a balance between direct selling and wholesale agency will test the management wisdom of Guizhou Maotai.
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Maotai, Guizhou, quietly “cut the fan”
一位接近经销商的人士告诉《财经天下》周刊,2016年之后,茅台对于经销商的管理力度加大,几乎所有被取消经销权的经销商们都是受到了过去灰色渠道的影响。
贵州茅台时任董事长李保芳还曾在公开场合表示:“极少数经销商推波助澜,阳奉阴违,以为到了‘利润收割期’,主张放开市场调控,赚取的利润达到了几百还不满足,像贩毒一样疯狂。”
这让茅台坚定了“削藩”的决心,此后茅台一手力推直销渠道;一手大力打压批发代理渠道。

背后的巨大利差

受环境影响,贵州茅台的核心产品53度飞天茅台是稀缺资源,每年的产量都是固定的。
2018-2020年,茅台酒的产量稳定在了5万吨左右,直到2021年,受产能扩建的影响,茅台酒的产能扩大到了5.65万吨,但受多种因素影响,想要持续扩张产能,对于茅台来说难度不小。
因此,贵州茅台若想提高营收增速,就要从他处着手。中泰证券在研报中称:“无法自由提价是茅台增速放缓的主要原因之一。未来茅台酒的增长空间主要在于价格,如何以市场化方式灵活提升吨价是茅台的重要改革方向。”
而与传统的批发代理渠道相比,直销渠道的毛利率要更高。2021年报显示,茅台批发代理渠道的毛利率为90.3%,与之相比直销渠道毛利率高达96.12%。
6个百分点的毛利率足以贡献出相当大的业绩增量,如果将2021年的销售全都用于直销渠道,且均价不变,那么茅台2021年的酒类营收将直接翻倍。从i茅台上销售的100ml装飞天茅台可以看出,每瓶官方指导价为399元,换算成500ml装售价约为1995元,相当于是飞天茅台出厂价的2倍多。
同样的一吨酒给经销商卖和自己直接卖,所能创造的经济效益是不可同日而语的。要知道,市场上500ml装的飞天茅台已经被卖到了近3000元,这中间的巨大价差,此前和贵州茅台无关,但骂声全被贵州茅台所承担着。
从消费者角度来说,贵州茅台加大直销渠道投放量,能够有效避免中间环节过多造成的信息不透明问题,减少消费者的品牌误解与误判,从而提升茅台对C端消费者的服务质量,消费者也能以较低的价格喝到飞天茅台,而不至于被经销商“割韭菜”。
蔡学飞表示,作为定位于高端的白酒品牌,茅台无论是从资本市场还是从企业管理角度来说,都需要强势的市场管控地位。因此,发展直销渠道一方面可以减少中间的流程,提高茅台对于渠道的管理效率以及价格管控的力度;另一方面也可以在一定程度上改善企业的产品结构,提高企业的利润空间,以及销售的节奏把控。
中信证券预测,常态化新品的投放将进一步增加茅台的收入,预计全年i茅台贡献的收入将超120亿元。i茅台官微数据显示,截至7月22日,i茅台注册用户已超2000万,日活400万,销售收入逾56亿元,相当于每日收入5381万元。比半年报披露的每日收入约4800万元,高出了不少。
图/视觉中国
尽管“没有中间商赚差价”的直销渠道很香,但要彻底动摇贵州茅台稳固多年的经销商体系,难度非常之大。蔡学飞表示,传统的经销商体系其实是可以转型为直营的,两者并没有构成根本性的矛盾。茅台目前对于直销渠道的改革大概率是在充分尊重传统渠道的基础上进行。
在大部分业内人士看来,贵州茅台的经销商体系在短时间内仍然不可动摇。周文表示,做直销渠道也不是一拍脑袋就能做成的,贵州茅台也需要花费相当长的时间去摸着石头过河。
酒类行业分析师肖竹青认为,由于茅台酒本身具有的社交属性,贵州茅台的传统经销商们可以看作是其与其他地区高端人群商务交流的平台,而这也成为了经销商们在线下渠道网络的核心竞争力。
如今贵州茅台面对的是莎士比亚“to be, or not to be”式的难题,如果仍然像过去一样依靠经销商,贵州茅台永远无法获得市场控价权,营收无法提速;但如果开始大刀阔斧进行直销渠道改革,则有可能彻底动了经销商的利益,茅台营收的核心基本盘将受到巨大影响。
如何在直销和批发代理之间找到平衡点,将考验着贵州茅台的经营智慧。

(文中潘婷和周文为化名)
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