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Rejuvenating Tea Culture for a New Generation of Customers

Mainland tea-drink brand Heytea accelerates expansion in Hong Kong and Asia.

Noticing the quality and limited choice of tea-based beverage in the local market, bubble tea lover Nie Yunchen opened a drink stall in a small alley, called JiangBianLi, in Jiangmen selling cheese cap green tea in 2012. In just seven years, Heytea has grown from a 20-square-metre drink stall into a regional tea-drink market leader with over 300 branches in 30 cities worldwide.

Heytea is famous for creating new combinations of tea with innovative ingredients and flavours targeting millennials and Gen-Z customers. With its best-selling cheese fruit tea, long queue is commonly seen at Heytea shops. “Currently over 60 percent of our customers are aged between 18-30 years old and most of which are female,” said Henry Chen, Brand Director, “this demography not only look for new and creative products, they also care about the aesthetic value of the product and excellent service.” 

“Through our continuous invention of new flavours, bespoke shop design, customer experience and services, we hope to rejuvenate tea culture for the new generation and take it to the next level,” he added.

Gateway to International Market

2018 marked Heytea’s opening of its first overseas shop in Singapore. In the same year, Heytea also launched its first Hong Kong shop in Shatin, followed by seven more shops across the city within a year. According to Chen, Hong Kong is a fantastic strategic location for Heytea. “As a cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong is an important stepping stone for Heytea to go global,” said Chen, “the city is also renowned as a food mecca with an open and mature market, which makes an ideal market for promoting a F&B brand.”

“Many Mainland companies use Hong Kong as a gateway to the international market,” Chen added, “Hong Kong’s economic environment is also favourable for these companies to scale up their operations.”

Currently Heytea employs over 100 full-time frontline and office staff with functions including finance, HR, business development, branding, research and development. Its Hong Kong team also looks after brand marketing in Singapore.

In the next few years, Heytea will focus on accelerating its expansion through Hong Kong office. More outlets are in the pipeline, including its ninth store in Kwun Tong.

“At the beginning of our planning stage, InvestHK has provided tailor made services in helping us get started, including liaison with property developers for finding premises and license application. Their work is crucial for our continuous expansion,” Chen concluded.


Fast Facts

  • Currently Heytea operates over 300 shops in Mainland China, eight in Hong Kong, and three in Singapore
  • Its new shop in Kwun Tong exclusively features a self-pickup service locker, which gives customer an option to remotely order via its app and skip the long queue

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