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More than just tea, China brews new success story

By ALEXIS HOOI,LI YINGQING and MA ZHIPING in Haikou | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-07-01 10:07

Tourists taste Xinglong coffee at a tropical botanical garden in Wanning, Hainan province. YUAN CHEN/FOR CHINA DAILY

In 2019, Yunnan raw coffee beans and related products totaling more than 56,100 metric tons were exported to at least 55 countries and regions, including European Union countries, the United States, Japan and South Korea, according to Customs figures.

There are more than 420 major coffee-related enterprises throughout Yunnan, with over 290 businesses and associations engaged in processing and marketing the beans. At least seven businesses each have annual sales revenue of more than 100 million yuan, according to local government figures.

The industry is poised to expand globally, following the inclusion of coffee products from Yunnan's Baoshan and Pu'er areas on the list of China's 100 geographical indications under protection in the EU. A geographical indication is a label given to products that possess a specific geographical origin with qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Late last year, the Chinese and EU sides rolled out measures to protect 100 of the EU's geographical indications and 100 Chinese geographical indications against imitations.

Coffee from Xinglong in South China's Hainan province has also been listed, with the inclusions widely seen as growing recognition of iconic, quality Chinese agricultural products in both domestic and international markets.

Hu Lu, vice-chairman of Yunnan's coffee industry association said Europe, the world's top coffee consumption market, fits perfectly with Yunnan's production and sales aspirations.

"In the past, Yunnan coffee was sold to Europe, which is far away, and it was deeply loved by European consumers. With East-West express rail freight and countries along the link having preferences for coffee, the beverage can become a good vehicle to help fuel the global economy," he said.

"Offering Yunnan coffee to Europe will allow more European friends to understand the province and perceive China through a cup of coffee."

Zhang Jiwei, deputy director of Yunnan Nongken Coffee Co, a leading industry player, has seen raw bean exports rise strongly for much of the past two decades.

"We are consolidating channels and opening up new markets, expanding the scale of exports and actively developing new trade models. Through large-scale development cooperation, strengthening of technical expertise, standardizing of planting and processing standards, we are improving and stabilizing the quality of the product," Zhang said.

Chinese coffee exports rank among the tops in the world, covering major markets from East and Southeast Asia, to Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, Zhang said. The company will "actively integrate the sustainable development of the domestic market with the steady expansion of exports to meet multiproduct demand for Yunnan's coffee", he added.

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