China’s tea market grows despite lack of stability

World Today

In one of China’s biggest recorded sales, two kilos of Pu’er tea sold for five million yuan, or nearly $818,000, in July. While a growing number of Chinese are buying tea as an investment, the market isn’t always stable reports CCTV America’s Grace Brown.

China's tea market grows despite lack of stability

China's tea market grows despite lack of stability

In one of China's biggest recorded sales, two kilos of Pu'er tea sold for five million yuan, or nearly $818,000, in July. While a growing number of Chinese are buying tea as an investment, the market isn't always stable reports CCTV America's Grace Brown.

Throughout China, people can buy thousands of different teas, drawing tea enthusiasts and investors alike. However the China Tea Marketing Association reported that exports only accounted for 1.3 percent of China’s tea industry revenues. Meanwhile, imports make up less than one percent of consumption.

Tea retailers have said that the tea drinking tradition is brewing some serious collectors as Chinese incomes rise.

“We have many customers who spend 200,000 to 300,000 yuan [$33,000-$49,000] a year collecting aged white tea. The longer the tea is preserved, the better it becomes.” said Pingdi Zhange, the supervisor of the Fujian Pinpinxiang Tea Industry Company. She said one customer who bought a cake of white tea for 86 yuan, or $14, and now it’s worth 2,280 yuan or $373.

One of the most expensive brews along with white teas are now the dark, fermented variety known as ‘Pu’erh.’ This tea has a wide range of flavors, changing taste as it ages.

While tea connoisseurs are willing to splurge, tea has also become a luxury item. However this is not a good label to have amid China’s anti-corruption campaign, which makes it harder to gift and exchange in the slowing economy.