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Report on China's tea industry

Chinese people have the habit of tea drinking. Tea drinking and tea planting in various countries in the world are spread from China directly or indirectly. In 729 AD, tea drinking spread to Japan first. In 1610, Dutch traders bought tea from China, which was transferred to various European countries afterwards. Subsequently, tea became a kind of worldwide drinks. China's tea planting technology was first transmitted to Japan. In 1780, East India Company in India imported tea seeds from Guangdong to India. Nowadays, there are over 50 countries planting and producing tea worldwide.

In 2010, the total output of tea in China exceeded 1.40 million tons, ranking the first in the world.
In 2010, China's domestic market consumed about 1.10 million tons of tea. In China, in addition to traditional tea, deep processed products with high technology content have become new favorites of the market. Tea drinks, tea food and instant tea have met people's requirement for increasingly accelerating life pace. Tea polyphenol, theanine, tea pigment and other tea extract products have become health care products chosen by many people.

Statistics show that China's tea deep processing field adopts raw material occupying 6% of China's total tea output, but creates the market of CNY 30 billion, accounting for one third of the market scale of China's tea industry.

Despite many unfavorable factors such as appreciation of RMB and increase in costs of production goods and labor, in 2010, China's tea export volume still exceeded 300,000 tons, ranking the second in the world, and the tea export value hit the record high, reaching USD 784 million.

Seen by categories, in 2010, the export of green tea, scented tea and Pu'er tea increased while that of oolong tea and black tea decreased. Seen by markets, the export to the U.S.A. and Russia increased rapidly. However, influenced by shortage in raw material supply, increase in production costs, quality standardization, etc., the export to West Africa and other traditional markets experienced a decline.

Despite the large number of China's tea enterprises, there's a lack of leading enterprises and global well-known brands in international tea industry in a real sense, and standardized and normalized tea production chain has not been formed. At present, China's exported tea is still mostly raw material products, and the competition is mainly low-level price competition. In 2010, China's average tea export price was less than 2.70 USD/kg, lower than that of Sri Lanka, Kenya and other countries.

In China, the tea industry is a perfectly competitive industry. In China, there are over 70,000 enterprises producing and processing tea, over 100 tea brands, and very low industry concentration, and even the market share of the No.1 enterprise is less than 1%. The future development trend is that the industry concentration will increase substantially and need the integration among enterprises.

by S. C.
02 june 2011, World News > Asia