New Chinese tea brands revive retail property

Shen Mengdan
The food and beverage sector, led by new Chinese tea brands, has given a boost to Shanghai's retail property.
Shen Mengdan

A report by property developer CBRE suggests that the food and beverage sector in Shanghai's shopping malls was popular among customers, accounting for a record 45 percent of the total retail property transactions in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The new Chinese tea drink and healthy yogurt brands fared exceptionally well. Last year, brands like Chagee, ChaPanda, and Naixue achieved impressive retail results.

New Chinese tea drinks differ from tea or milk tea in that they use Chinese tea as the main base and cream or milk as a supplement, uniquely interpreting traditional Chinese tea.

Besides, brands like Chagee and Naixue promote both Chinese tea culture and healthy lifestyle, aligning with today's "China Chic" and people's desire for a better life.

In 2023, tea drink producers faced strong competition. Naixue opened 166 new stores in September 2023, while Chagee had 3,000 by then.

New Chinese tea brands revive retail property
Ti Gong

Crowds at the Zhenru Huanyu Max City

Last year, yogurt brands like More Yogurt and Blueglass Yogurt were equally popular.

More Yogurt, which was launched in 2014 and was relatively unknown, swiftly expanded in 2023, opening over 1,000 outlets. Blueglass Yogurt, which opened its first store in Beijing in 2012, has secured more than 200 million yuan in financing.

Dr Cao Yixia of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences feels that shopping district consumption has become a key trend, with the young generation leading the way.

"We live in an era in which young people seek cultural identities as well as the opportunity to socialize and express themselves. We need more Shanghai companies that embody the city's distinct personality and culture," she stated.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the food and beverage sector played a significant role in Shanghai's retail property market recovery in the fourth quarter of 2023.

According to a survey by real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle, the leasing of prime retail properties (big shopping complexes) in Shanghai totaled 268,000 square meters in the fourth quarter, while the annual total of 730,000sqm eclipsed even the pre-epidemic 610,000sqm.

During the quarter, six projects in non-core shopping districts were launched, totaling 362,500sqm of retail space. New projects such as Bailian Xijiao and Zhenru Huanyu MAX City have received more than 95 percent of the funding.

New Chinese tea brands revive retail property
Ti Gong

Young customers line up in front of Chagee, a new Chinese tea brand.

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