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Cuban cigars: An enduring treasure from Havana to BeijingWhen they rip the big green leaves from the tobacco plant, Cuban farmers know they're touching gold. In 2017, a year in which the luxury market overall grew by five percent, cigar sales rose a stunning 12 percent worldwide, for a record $500 million, according to Bain & Company.The cigars are sold in humidors that can fetch more than $1 million at auction.Cuban cigars are exported by Habanos S.A., a 50-50 joint venture between the Cuban state and Spain's Altadis, a firm owned by Imperial Tobacco Group of Britain.For now, European countries receive 54 percent of Cuban cigar exports, followed by countries in Latin America (17 percent) and the Asia-Pacific region (15 percent).The cigar business employs some 130,000 people in Cuba, an island of 11 million.
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