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Tongren brews up big tea opportunities

By Zhu Wenqian in Beijing and Yang Jun in Guiyang ( China Daily )

Updated: 2018-04-04

Tongren, a city in Guizhou province, plans to become a global center for matcha production, as its subtropical climate and unpolluted clean air are ideal for growing high-quality tea.

Gui Tea Co Ltd, a major green tea producer in Guizhou, is aiming to be a major player in this effort. It currently has 23 production lines under construction in the city.

"Matcha is a new category for us. Once the manufacturing lines are completed, we will put them into operation. In the future, we plan to export the matcha products produced in Tongren to Japan and the United Kingdom," said Chen Yongqian, director of the city's tea industry development office.

Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves.

Guizhou now leads the nation in the size of its green tea plantations, and has attracted famous firms in the sector to set up businesses in the province. So far, 186 companies, including Gui Tea Co Ltd, Swire Pacific Group, Nongfu Spring and A.S. Watson Group, have set up branches in Tongren.

In 2017, Tongren's tea sales reached 8 billion yuan ($1.27 billion), up 16 percent year-on-year. In the past five years, sales have been growing at 15 percent on average annually, according to the local government.

The export business of Guizhou's favorite drink is also booming. Last year, Tongren exported green and red tea to countries and regions including Thailand, Vietnam and Africa, and the total export revenue reached $6.8 million, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year.

Currently, the output of tea in Tongren ranks second in Guizhou province, and more than 500 indicators of the tea produced there have reached or exceeded European Union standards.

"At Mount Fanjing, a tea plantation in Tongren, the air quality is 10 to 15 times cleaner than the clean air standard proposed by the World Health Organization," said Fu Chuanyao, president of Guizhou Tea Culture Research Association.

Contact the writers at zhuwenqian@chinadaily.com.cn

Tongren brews up big tea opportunities

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