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Gateway to Maritime Silk Road


Millennium-old tea culture in SE China's Fujian goes global

BY :People's Daily Online

UPDATED :2024-02-05

As one of the major tea-producing regions in China, Southeast China's Fujian province is home to more than 3 million mu (200,000 hectares) of tea gardens planted with various types of tea trees.

Photo taken by a drone on April 7, 2023 shows people harvesting tea leaves on a mountain in Wuyishan city, Southeast China's Fujian province. (Photo taken by Qiu Ruquan and released by Xinhua)

Historically, tea from Fujian reached places all over the world through the Maritime Silk Road. Today, the millennium-old Fujian tea culture is regaining its glory.

In recent years, Fujian has taken vigorous efforts to try to boost tea exports, continuously expanding the market for tea in countries and regions along the Belt and Road, according to Zhong Muda, deputy director of the commerce department of Fujian province.

Data shows Fujian's exports of tea leaves exceeded 3.5 billion yuan (US$ 509 million) in 2022, up 6.9 percent year on year.

In recent years, an increasing number of tea brands in Fujian are going global by being displayed at international exhibitions and sold at local stores.

"A cup of our jasmine tea is sold for 28 euros at a restaurant in Paris, France, which is rated Michelin 3-star. Our tea is also available at luxury stores in the city," said Fu Tianlong, chairman of the board of Chunlun, a tea company in Fujian. 

Photo taken on April 11, 2023 shows jasmine tea products on the production line of a factory of a tea import and export company in Fuzhou, Southeast China's Fujian province. (Xinhua/Zhou Yi)

The company's annual sales of tea in France stand at around 50 million yuan. It plans to develop markets in other European countries with France as the center.

"We will continue to promote Fujian tea along the Maritime Silk Road and support key tea companies in the province to build flagship stores abroad, expand the overseas market, participate in global competition, and build a smooth sales channel overseas for Fujian tea," said an official from the department of agriculture and rural affairs in Fujian.
Fujian's porcelain culture also goes global with its tea. 

Porcelain tea ware from Dehua county, Fujian enjoyed popularity at an exhibition in Malaysia's Selangor state in February 2023.

"We displayed more than 100 samples of porcelain tea ware during the exhibition and they were all sold out," said Xu Jianyong, chief artistic officer of a porcelain company in Dehua.

"After we returned home, we designed a series of porcelain products inspired by the giant panda, and we plan to promote them in Malaysia and Singapore," Xu disclosed.

Fujian is a well-known ancestral home of overseas Chinese.

In May 2022, a cultural exchange platform called "Fujian Tea Experience Center" for overseas Chinese was launched.

By February 2023, the Fujian Provincial Returned Overseas Chinese Federation authorized the establishment of such platforms in 25 organizations for overseas Chinese and places for cultural activities in 23 countries and regions of the world.

Women pick tea leaves at an ecological tea garden in Dahong village, Tieshan township, Zhenghe county, Fujian province, May 18, 2022. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)

The tea culture of Fujian has attracted many fans of tea to China to experience the tea culture.
Yvette, a woman from Dubai, visited Wuyi Mountain in Fujian three years ago. During her recent visit, Yvette said she will stay there for one month to learn how to pick tea leaves and use tea ware.
Tea lovers in the U.S. have developed an app able to offer tips on how to make tea after users type the names of the tea. The app has more than 10,000 users and is available in more than 10 languages. 

A craftsman shows off tea making skills to overseas Chinese from Costa Rica, at a jasmine tea cultural and creative park in Fuzhou city, Southeast China's Fujian province, April 12, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhou Yi)
Tea is planted in many countries and regions along the Belt and Road, providing an important source of income for local people.
Local tea growers in Fujian have offered assistance such as talent and skills training for their counterparts in countries and regions along the Belt and Road, injecting impetus into industrial upgrading in these places and helping local farmers to increase their income.
From 2009 to 2022, Zhangzhou College of Science and Technology, which provides education in tea science and tea cultivation, had held 35 training sessions for more than 1,000 people from 55 countries.

Editor: Annie