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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

Growing tastes CHINA DAILY

Expansion plans

Hainan has a rich history of coffee cultivation dating back to 1887. Xinglong, a town in Wanning in the province's southeast, is a major coffee hub and boasts ideal growing conditions with its rich soil and tropical climate.

The industry was started after overseas Chinese returning from countries in Southeast Asia brought their coffee-drinking habits with them. This new demand significantly contributed to the growth of the industry in its early days, said local coffee industry association deputy secretary-general Wu Chunguang.

Xinglong's 36,000 residents have continued the town's passion for the beverage. More than 200 cafes do brisk business and per capita annual coffee consumption is nearly 300 cups, according to Hainan coffee association figures.

Wanning authorities have in recent years focused on improving farming practices, building enterprise capacity and exploring related tourism projects and other measures to leverage the city's coffee heritage for economic development. Coffee cultivation has grown to cover more than 660 hectares, with output value recorded at over 80 million yuan four years ago.

In a sign of the development of Hainan's coffee industry beyond its shores, Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group is banking on the growth trends via a new Wanning Xinglong "coffee city" project.

With about 100 million yuan of investment, the project includes a demonstration base planting area covering 72 hectares, as well as processing, research and development, training, sales and other services and facilities.

The project is expected to create 3,200 jobs, help farmers attain household incomes of up to 100,000 yuan a year and attract 1 million tourists annually, according to the company. When cultivation areas cover 4,000 hectares, output is expected to reach 4,200 tons a year, with annual output value of 1.2 billion yuan, it said.

The project's general manager, Zhao Jinlong, said Hainan's Xinglong coffee is well poised to be successful in domestic and international markets.

"The Chinese economy has developed to a new stage, with consumption upgrades to come. The coffee industry is also set to undergo a transformation, with China's consumer population ushering in new development," Wu added.

"Xinglong coffee will certainly be able to fit the times, helping to showcase the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."

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