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Tea Power

A new tea-beverage brand is on the rise in China – Shenzhen-based Nayuki is gaining steam

There’s a long queue forming outside a newly opened drinks store in Beijing, but it isn’t Starbucks, which has been hugely popular among the locals for quite a while now. It’s Chinese tea-beverage company Nayuki, which has just opened a branch there.

Launched in November 2015, Nayuki is headquartered in Shenzhen and has expanded rapidly. In less than three years, it’s come to operate almost 80 stores across 13 cities in China. Nayuki has become a fashionable statement for young people, too, but why? Well, its tasty tea beverages, for one; also its cups, which feature a mouth that’s specially designed to perfectly fit the lips; and its freshly baked bread, which is high in fibre and low in fat. And unlike many competitors that cut corners, Nayuki insists on the highest-quality tea and fresh fruits according to the seasons.

Nayuki’s beautiful interior decor, which makes it appear like a luxury shop, is also a major draw. “When it comes to shop design, we work with different designers, artists and some influential KOLs [key opinion leaders],” explains Peng Xin, Nayuki’s co-founder. “We want to develop Nayuki in a fashionable and artistic way. And we have recently been collaborating with Estée Lauder and Sulwhasoo.”

The brand actually originates from a love story. Nayuki’s two founders first met on a blind date and Peng told Zhao Lin, a businessman with more than ten years of experience in the food industry, about her entrepreneurial plans. It wasn’t strictly business, of course – there was a happily-ever-after, as they fell in love at first sight and got married after three months.

In terms of placement, Nayuki knows its main target – almost every one of the brand’s stores is located near a Starbucks. “All Nayuki shops’ monthly sales figures have surpassed those of Starbucks,” says Peng. “Nayuki pursues a bright, relaxing, fashionable lifestyle, which is far from Starbucks, whose main theme is dark and business-like.”

In March, Nayuki finished its series A financing and was estimated at more than RMB 6 billion, placing it among the highest-valued tea brands in China. After its huge success there, Nayuki has officially begun its global expansion strategy, with a Singapore opening via a joint venture with BreadTalk in the second half of this year. “Singapore is an important market,” says Peng. “We chose Singapore to learn how to meet international standards – and then we can go global.”

With 100 new stores planned in China by the end of this year and further plans overseas, it seems this young Chinese tea brand is on the path to world domination. “We hope more and more people worldwide will fall in love with our brand and Chinese tea,” says Peng. “At the same time, we want to be an innovator and a promoter in the course of Chinese tea’s globalization.”

By Nancy Qu


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