Farmers pick Longjing tea leaves in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Westlake Longjing Tea, grown in Hangzhou and picked before the Tomb Sweeping Day on April 4 this year, is considered a top-end tea product, but its price still is unchanged from 2015. CHINA DAILY
[InKunming--China] The Chinese green tea market is taking on a distinctly modern feel, as e-commerce platforms team up with leading producers to meet growing consumer demand for the freshest leaves picked in early spring.
The time around Tomb Sweeping Day, on April 4, is among the tea market's busiest of the year, when tender shoots are picked to make the first batches of spring tea.
And with that selling window firmly in mind, Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd, the country's largest electronics retailer, launched a tea-selling campaign earlier this month on its group-buying site Ju.suning.com, which is already raking in orders.
The strategy is simple, said Wang Di, general manager at Ju.suning.
Partnering with 12 tea producers from eastern China, home to the country's most notable tea growing areas, he said the company has already been pre-selling the freshest spring tea to consumers, which helps reduce distribution channels and speeds up the delivery process.
"This is a typical, modern consumer-to-business model.
"We collect orders online, and the producers then make and package the tea, based on demand," he said.
The sales model not only allows consumers to quickly get what they want, but enables tea producers to gauge how much demand there will be, and make better-informed business decisions based on that, he says.
"Within three days of opening for pre-orders on March 9, we generated 86,500 orders, worth more than 11 million yuan ($1.7 million)," Wang said.