Chinese coffee brands have started to scout for foreign coffee beans to meet the rising domestic demand for the beverage in recent years. Chinese consumers are also looking for more high quality and unique coffee flavors to meet their rising crave for coffee.
China’s coffee bean imports had almost doubled to 125,000 tons last year from 2017, with the import value surging nearly 150% to US$1.1 billion, according to data from China customs department.
Meanwhile, domestic coffee bean trade which was in surplus before 2016, is now facing a deficit for 6 straight years, according to a report from Yunnan province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Yunnan is a major coffee producer in China that boasts Starbucks, Nescafe, and Luckin Coffee as its main clients. The coffee planting area in the province was about 93,000 hectares, with a total output of 108,700 tons of coffee beans in 2021.
In the past, China coffee market was dominated by foreign brands such as Starbucks, but now more and more domestic brands are entering the market like Luckin and Manner. Luckin has surpassed Starbucks in revenue to reach US$855 million in 2022, and it is constantly innovating with new coffee flavors offered from time to time. Both local and foreign coffee brands are expanding their number of stores in the country, as the coffee market is still in a development stage.
China is the world’s 7th largest consumer of coffee in 2022 with 280,000 tonnes, up 14.3% from 2021. It still lags behind the EU, US and Brazil where the populations are much smaller.