Paradox was created in 1999 by Erwann Lemoigne, in Hangzhou, China. Originally named “French Wine Paradox” after Dr. Serge Renaud’s study on the coronary benefits of red wine, the company’s activity first consisted of importing French wine and distributing it through the Chinese retail market. Paradox entered the giant French retailer Carrefour in 2000 with a few items and Chinese promoters. They launched the very first wine fairs to develop a product category that was then unknown by the average Chinese consumer. Pushing the boundaries further, Paradox innovated by hiring foreign promoters to sell their products in supermarkets, therefore building the strong cultural image of the wine section.
Paradox entered other major international retailers such as Auchan, Walmart and Tesco in 2003, followed a couple of years later by Asian players such as Lotus, RT-Mart and ParknShop as well as National retail chains such as Lianhua and Wumei. By the end of the decade, Paradox was present in most major supermarket’s wine section, including Sam’s Club, Yonghui, BHG, Vanguard and City Shop, offering not only wine from the world’s most prestigious regions but also a large panel of services which ensured Paradox’s leadership on this market.
The standard for the retail market was born and the barriers built by Paradox were pretty high: well trained promoters and foreign wine ambassadors on the field, highly dynamic events such as wine fairs and in-store tastings, strong visual identity of the brands displayed on the shelves, clear and efficient wine selection, transparent prices as well as sustained quality and guaranteed authenticity all helped creating a safe and cultural environment for new customers, therefore associating supermarkets with premium wines purchase experience.
Always maintaining close relationship with their suppliers, Paradox’s services to their retailers included the attendance of wine producers and winery owners on the field of the main wine fairs, attracting wine lovers from a very wide area and building a strong brand image for their suppliers’ wines. Also, to enhance this collaboration and boost promoters’ wine knowledge, key supplier Wineo along with France regional council of Herault launched in 2010 a series of incentive trips for Paradox’s most outstanding staff throughout French wineries from Languedoc-Roussillon.