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A look into China's only tea exporter.

A look into China's only tea exporter

After being founded in 1949, the Shanghai Tea Branch of the China Native Produce Corp has established itself as one of the premier exporters in the tea world. Exports of tea and cocoa started in the early 50's with sources from all provences, but mainly from the south and west of China. The company receives, processes and packages Black tea, Green tea, specialty items like Jasmine and Oolong tea.

Shanghai traditionally sources all its raw materials from the interior of the country and then manufacturers them into finished consumer and industrial products. It is known as the city of 14,000 factories. This reliance on other provences for material worked extremely well as long as Shanghai was considered the center of trade for both the domestic market and more importantly for the export market

Until 1981, Shanghai exported 40,000 tons of Black teas annually and 38,000 tons of Green. In 1990 the corresponding amounts were 30,000 and 25,000 tons. The difference is that some of the production from supplying provences are now exported by Tea Branchs of those provences. The total exports from PRC still total 200,000 tons but the traditional export outlets are just handling less. The performance of Shanghai is in fact remarkable in holding onto the volumes currently handled.

According to Liu Bai Nian, deputy general manager, the success is due to several factors. First is that their sources are assured because Shanghai has expertise in blending which the newer firms do not have, second is long established trade links, third is a tradition of providing better service to the customer and having a knowledge of the mechanics of foreign trade.

The best quality black teas come from the south from Guangdong, Guanghing, and Hunan provences. Even though Chinese teas can be considered the best in the world as a general rule, the overall quality is not as high as similar teas from India, Sri Lanka or Kenya. These countries simply have better growing conditions. The price of Chinese teas is therefore a little less than those sourced from the other countries. Green tea, however, is the world standard.

Shanghai sells tea in both bulk and in tea bags but only 1,000 tons is exported in bags: the large demand is for bulk tea. These exports are used for blending purposes and are sold as BOPF,OP, and dust. Black teas go to Europe, Middle and Near East, Australia, United States, and a few other destinations. Green tea is sold primarily in the Mid and Near East, Africa and the United States. The reliability of delivering the bulk quantities of the sampled goods has meant continued but slow growth at the advantage of other PRC organizations. Shanghai is No. 1 in tons exported and turnover of all the tea exporting organizations.

Both the green tea "EverGreen" and "Dragon" brand tea bags are award winning products receiving prestigious gold and silver medals from various European nations.

Tea bags exports began in the early 70's and have largely gone to Eastern Europe due to the historic connection between PRC and the countries in this area. These markets remain and recent advertising campaigns in a variety of media including this journal have generated inquiries. These have been converted to sales so the volume of "Dragon" tea bags slowly increases. The value of exports in tea bags form adds 4-5 times the value of the same teas in bulk form, so this activity is beneficial.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Shanghai Tea Branch of the China Native Produce Corp.
Author:Lockwood, George
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jul 1, 1991
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