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News > Latin America

Cuban Cigars Smoke Competition, Taking China as Sales Skyrocket

  • Habanos, which makes brands including Cohiba, Monte Cristo and Romeo, dominates the global market for hand-rolled, premium cigars.

    Habanos, which makes brands including Cohiba, Monte Cristo and Romeo, dominates the global market for hand-rolled, premium cigars. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 February 2018
Opinion

Cigar companies are raking in the dough as last year’s revenues registered a record-breaking US$500 million.

The aroma of Cuba’s famous cigars has traveled to the East Indies with Chinese smokers scrambling for a drag and Havana’s cigar sales skyrocketed globally by 12 percent.

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Cigar companies are raking in the dough as last year’s revenues registered a record-breaking US$500 million for the Habanos S.S. company the institution stated Monday as the Cuban annual cigar festival kicked off.

According to company directors, China leapt to third in its export market sales with percent value rising to 33 percent in 2017.

“Without doubt, there is potential for China to become the biggest market at a global level,” Habanos Vice President of Development Jose Maria Lopez told Reuters after the company’s annual news conference.

Habanos, which makes brands including Cohiba, Monte Cristo, and Romeo, dominates the global market for hand-rolled, premium cigars.

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Lopez said the global growth in sales last year was due to a series of good tobacco harvests and new products. Per statistics from the consultancy Bain & Co, cigar sales outpaced luxury goods in last year’s market.

Though the United States represents the largest market for cigars in the world, Cuba has struggled with importing its goods due to recent policies and sanctions imposed on the island country last year.

Lopez said U.S. President Donald Trump’s more hostile policy toward Cuba, including tighter restrictions on U.S. travel, did not appear to have impacted sales so far. Domestic revenue rose around 15 percent last year.

“We trust that despite Trump’s measures the Cuban market will continue to grow in 2018,” he said.

The Cuban monopoly cigar company’s hand-rolled cigars are considered by many as the best in the world, and the annual Cuban cigar festival attracts wealthy tobacco aficionados and retailers from all over for a week of extravagant parties and tours of plantations and factories.

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