The Huajuchen Tea Expos. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, or even been to one. Or perhaps, what’s likely if you don’t speak Chinese, you’ve never heard of it at all. Yet, it’s the largest network of tea festivals in the world and naturally, they’re in China.
China is a big country with a lot of people and is responsible for the production of the world’s most cotton, the top two largest beer brands in the world (shockingly), and of course, the most tea in the world. It then shouldn’t come as a surprise that they host the world’s largest tea festivals, fairs, and exhibitions, most of which are run by Huajuchen Industrial Group.
Since 2008, Huajuchen has hosted the Shenzhen Tea Expo every year (sometimes twice a year) and has since grown from that single event to 21 events scheduled this year, all over China. Shenzhen still hosts their premier event every year at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center, a gleaming glass and steel building encompassing 220,000 sq. meters (2.3 million sq. feet), nicknamed the “Crystal Palace”, and 2018’s Shenzhen Tea Expo is set to take over 60,000 sq. meters of that space.
It’s no accident that Shenzhen became the host city for the largest of Huajuchen’s events: it’s right next door to Hong Kong, used to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and is now the third largest economy in China. The area attracts a lot of business, both domestic and international, and it seems business for Huajuchen’s events are not just good, but booming: in 2016, across 18 events in China, the Huajuchen Tea Expos hosted 3,800 exhibitor booths, earning $112 million USD, with 160,000 visitors. These numbers have only grown.
Their main objective is, of course, to grow the tea industry, with a heavy focus on networking and business development. A company tagline reads “New Changes, New Strategies, New Development” and they told us that they endeavor to pursue “scientific and technological innovation, investment and financing cooperation, international brand marketing, and planning to improve the international trading”. The Chinese government naturally supports and collaborates with Huajuchen on some of these events. It is, after all, in their best interest to promote and facilitate interest and investment in their national drink.
The Huajuchen Tea Expos have essentially created “a one-stop professional platform of purchasing, distribution … domestic and foreign tea manufacturers, distributors, teaware/ tea makers and tea lovers,” and claim to have accumulated “the most complete industry chain of tea industry resources, with tens of thousands of tea business customers, nearly 200,000 tea distributors, more than 200 million tea consumers, and many tea industry experts, academics, media, and other resources.”
At these events, you can expect to meet tea producers and raw material suppliers, tea processing equipment manufacturers, importers, exporters, retailers, distributors, packaging and branding companies, even tea space interior designers and tea culture promoters. You can engage in numerous tea tastings, tea cultural events, listen to dozens on dozens of noted speakers from all corners of the tea industry in China, and of course, make connections with the biggest players in the country. They also host numerous tea competitions, special exhibits, pop-up tea spaces, museums, and more. It’s a tea industry unto itself.
If this was all they did, Huajuchen would already be a tea powerhouse, but they’ve gone above and beyond and created what might be the largest tea-centric mobile marketplace in the world: Teayork. It’s a mobile app (with a limited browser-based experience) that has now attracted over 200,000 registered users and represents 8,700 tea companies, 180,000 tea franchisers and distributors, with an overall reach of 2.3 million people.