Having been battered by Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, shares in Chinese sorghum wine producer Kweichow Moutai have risen to a record high after the company’s general manager said it would extend production to keep prices down in the face of growing demand.
Shanghai-listed shares in the company rose as much as 2.5 per cent to Rmb367.75 ($53.27) on Tuesday morning, pushing its market capitalisation to more than Rmb460bn. That is up Rmb40bn from the beginning of 2017.
The boost came after mainland newspaper China Securities Journal reported Li Baofang, the company’s party secretary and general manager, had announced on Friday that Kweichow Moutai would begin producing the white liquor year-round to ensure price stability in the face of surging demand.
The apparent return of thirst for the company’s throat-scorching tipple – long a go-to gift for supplicants hoping to grease the wheels of China’s notoriously corrupt bureaucracy – is the latest signal that president and party secretary Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign is entering a phase of lowered intensity.
That Mr Li’s comments came ahead of the ongoing, high-profile session of China’s rubber-stamp legislature in Beijing will not be lost on officials whose besotted banquets had been curtailed by austerity orders from Mr Xi intended to clean up his party’s image.
Resurgent demand for the liquor would also track with data released in January showing that China’s courts prosecuted fewer officials for corruption for the first time in five years in 2016. The drop of 20 per cent marked a substantial shift for the president’s signature campaign ahead of the 19th party congress this autumn, where as many as five members of the Politburo’s elite seven-member Standing Committee set to be replaced.