The Chinese tea market is opening to India. China’s consumption upgrades, rising consumer tastes, and the government’s opening-up marked by relatively low import tariffs have brought unprecedented opportunities to Indian tea exporters.
China’s relatively low import tariff of 7.5 – 15% (compared to 30% in Russia, China is a huge export market for Indian tea), the mainland China’s strategy from multiple import commodities markets, China’s philosophy of supporting trade, and Indian tea price advantage are conducive to the development of bilateral tea trade, industry insiders said.
They said that because Indian tea has reached the strict quality standards of major export destinations such as Japan, Russia and the ASEAN market, there is high confidence that Indian tea will soon be accepted throughout China.
In 2010, India exported about 2 million kilograms of tea to China. In 2017, this figure expanded to around 8.3 million kilograms, accounting for only a small portion of India’s total exports of 247 million kilograms. From April to September 2018, China imported 4.35 million kilograms of tea from India, compared with 3.76 million kilograms a year ago.
Arun Kumar Ray, vice chairman of the Tea Board of India, said the next goal is to reach 20 million kilograms by 2022, as the Chinese market has huge growth potential.
According to industry insiders, e-commerce, brand promotion activities, and cooperation with Chinese tea distributors, tea appreciation courses are different ways to bring Indian tea to China. All of these opportunities arise because Chinese consumers are eager to enjoy strong, flavored milk teas.
There is JumoreGlobal, an e-commerce marketplace for bulk commodities and consumer goods, which has witnessed an increasing number of people from China ordering the Indian tea from their platform. The platform offers various varieties of tea such as green tea from Darjeeling and black tea from Assam.
Liang Jinning, general manager of Beijing XinKang-Ning Industry and Trade Co., Ltd, one of the largest foreign tea distributors in China, said: “Consumer feedback and my personal opinion is that India’s tea has better quality and cheaper price. In the next three years, I see that the consumption of Indian tea in China has increased by 2-3 times.”
A tea culture trainer Ji Mu said: “Indian tea adds a lot of exciting elements to the local social scene. I will recommend a variety of mixed drinks to my clients because they are eager to experience strong, stimulating tastes.”
In the long run, Indian tea can promote bilateral cultural exchanges and peace between the two sides.