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Remy Martin to export 'smart' cognac to China to stop fakes

A bottle of "XO" (extra old) cognac is displayed at the Remy Martin distillery in Cognac, southwestern France.

[BORDEAUX] Chinese consumers concerned about counterfeit cognac will soon be able to verify the authenticity of a bottle of Remy Martin via their cellphone, the French cognac giant said on Wednesday.

The "smart" bottle of Remy Martin Club Connected Cognac, sold only in China, will be available in the coming months in "nightclubs in three big Chinese cities", said Florence Puech, a spokeswoman for the firm which dates back to 1724.

Consumers can download a special app onto their smartphones, developed in partnership with Selinko - a technology company - which will communicate with a chip in the bottle cap.

The technology will allow them to ensure the bottle has never been opened as well as other information about its content.

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It also has a marketing component, allowing cognac connoisseurs to join a fidelity programme.

The choice of China as a launchpad for the technology "is not by chance" said Ms Puech, adding that counterfeit alcohol in the country was "real and not insignificant." China is also one of Remy Martin's key markets, along with the United States.

French people do not consume a lot of cognac and most of the liquor produced in the country is exported.