According to figures compiled by the Guangdong Tea Industry Association, total production of tea in China reached 1.45m tonnes with consumption standing at 87,0000 tonnes, making China the largest tea consumption market in the world.
The total value of the tea output stands at 132billion Chinese yuan with exports standing at 300,000 tonnes at a value of US$784m.
Mr Liming Zhang, secretary general, Guangdong Tea Association stated that tea prices in 2011 would be slightly higher due to poorer yield due to the bad weather during spring this year.
He however believed that tea prices would remain stable overall. However the growing popularity of red teas has led to many tea producers moved from producing green teas to black teas.
Zhang added that the heaviest tea consumers remain in Guangdong with consumption touching 11 million tonnes. In addition, the Guangdong province remains a key tea producing region with cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and cities in the Pearl River Delta region, being established as tea specialty markets.
Locally produced tea in Guangdong now makes up half of the market share in ‘black tea’ with foreign players capturing the other 50% of the ‘black tea’ market share.
Chinese black tea is indeed growing in popularity and pushing up tea consumption locally. Pu’erh tea is recognised by more consumers as conducive for health and with ‘slimming’ effects.
Its popularity has been growing since 2003 when consumers become more health conscious and increasingly aware of its benefits.
The China Tea (Wuzhou) Co has seen domestic business improving. Ms Sammy Qin, sales manager at China Tea Co, said that the local tea market still has a lot of potential as consumers were beginning to take to the habit of tea drinking.
Furthermore, tea is also been given as expensive gifts during festive occasions.
She told Food Navigator Asia: “Our teas, especially the ‘Liu Pao tea’ has a long history and Chinese tradition since the Qing Dynasty and is getting very popular with the locals and foreigners alike. We expect to see growth in the domestic market as the export market slows down due to the appreciation of the Chinese yuan and bleaker economic outlook.”
Ms Yolanda Hung, sales manager of Shanghai Mingcui Imp. & Exp, a major tea supplier based in Shanghai also remarked that Chinese tea was gaining fans locally as well as overseas.
For example, she claimed, that Russia was becoming an important market for Chinese tea. Despite worldwide economic factors, she felt that the Chinese tea market remained rosy due to the popularity Chinese Black tea, Green tea, Flower Tea and Pu’erh tea.