“Special effects tea,” “service tea”, “financial tea,” “a piece (cake) can buy a BMW, and you can buy a house in Guangzhou”… Now it is the spring tea season when the drama is on the market again.
A reporter from “Xinhua Viewpoint” investigated the tea market and found that marketing chaos under various pretexts emerged in an endless stream. The quality of many teas is challenging to distinguish, the price is chaotic, and the price is often hundreds of thousands or even millions. Many tea marketing has gone beyond the category of daily drinking products, or defraud consumers, or hidden risks of corruption, or turned into financial products to create money scams.
There are many kinds of hype “gimmicks,” and the price depends on “fudge.”
The reporter found in some tea-producing areas that with the vigorous development of the tea industry in recent years, to cope with fierce market competition, some businesses have exaggerated publicity and carried out “no bottom line” hype.
——Advocating “origin tea” and “special effect tea.”
For the ancient tea trees in Yichashan, Yunnan, the highest booking price for fresh leaves this year exceeds 10,000 yuan per kilogram. A tea farmer said it is challenging to buy Maocha in a small area without a price increase. In some famous hills, checkpoints are set up at the village entrance every spring tea season to prevent foreign tea from mixing in.
To sell tea, a particular place in Guizhou Province registered the trademark “Yunshang 2330” with altitude as a selling point and prepared to sell it for 2,330 yuan per catty. The packaging bag reads, “The highest tea garden in the world, the hometown of ecological organic tea in China’s mountains. “.
And on e-commerce platforms such as Pinduoduo, the reporter saw a liver-raising tea from Fujian Tulou Anoectochilus, which promoted the effects of reducing fire, relieving alcohol, nourishing the liver, and clearing heat. A Xinjiang Apocynum tea also said that it could help lower blood pressure. Some teas are accompanied by myths and legends and the “Eight Steps of the Dragon” and other brewing heart sutras to prove the miraculous effect of tea with “the local long-lived elderly and twins account for a large proportion.”
——The prevalence of “service tea” and “gift tea.”
The reporter saw at the Taisheng Tea Market in Huaguoyuan, Guiyang. Many merchants were hanging the words “mass wholesale of new tea in 2021” in prominent positions, and some also offered customized tea ceremonies.
In JD.com, a 2021 Anji White Tea New Tea Gift Box 500g is priced at 29,999 yuan, with the following note “Built-in full invoices, giving gifts with face, and tea is made” The customer service staff said: “If our tea is not the best at the same price, we won’t take a cent.”
On Pinduoduo, some merchants marked “tea for leaders” and other words in prominent positions on the product page. Mr. Wen, the owner of dark tea, told reporters that 80 of his shops sell tea as gift teas, and most of them are gifts for regular customers, and they sell very well during the holidays.
-Rendering “investment tea” and “financial tea.”
“2.88 million to accept eight slices of cabbage” “One piece (cake) can buy a BMW, mention can buy a house in Guangzhou”… On Douyin, the reporter saw that some tea-collecting bloggers often posted similar messages. Copywriting video. According to industry insiders, the so-called “slice” is one loaf, and there are seven loaves when mentioned. The online marketing video shows that the price of a piece of tea is between 280,000 yuan and 320,000 yuan, and a mention of tea is as high as 2.55 million yuan.
Some insiders said that some of the fictitious trading behaviors in these videos deliberately concocted scarce quotes to look for “receivers.”
Corruption cases and fraud cases involving tea occur frequently.
Liu Zhonghua, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that the tea industry is always preaching about ancient trees and mountain tops, hoping that each tree is different, and even the top and bottom of each tree are other. He believes that so many “games” are disorderly development, which is detrimental to the healthy development of the industry.
Some tea company owners said that although they strictly control the production side, they are entirely powerless to deal with the follow-up OEM behavior of tea dealers.
Meng Tianhai, an agronomist at the Tea Mulberry Technology Promotion Center in Sinan County, Guizhou Province, said that there are local standards in each place. Each enterprise has its production and processing standards. Tea merchants rely solely on personal choice. He said that tea production costs have risen in recent years, coupled with market speculation, and prices have fluctuated significantly.
The tea standards are different, and the pricing is arbitrary. The lack of price transparency of tea has caused a lot of corruption as a bribe in recent years. According to industry insiders, some teas, as recognized rare and precious local products, have formed a channel for private customization and particular supply, and often “people who buy it don’t drink it, and people who drink it don’t buy it.” This hidden rule of tea has surpassed normal human relations, and some sweet teas have become meaningful gifts for bribery.
The reporter found that in recent years, corruption cases related to tea have repeatedly appeared in the Commission for Discipline Inspection notification.
“1 box of Maojian tea, six bags of loose tea…” In June last year, the Guizhou Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection notified Liu Jian, the former political commissar of the Traffic Police Detachment of the Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture Public Security Bureau, to accept the tea ceremony; the principal of a driving school received a license twice He paid 77,000 yuan for tea; in the feature film “Right Wind and Anti-Corruption Are Around” broadcast this year, the collapse of the isolation observation point in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, was inseparable from the firefighting of the tea shop owner opposite the firefighting squadron.
In recent years, tea has also been targeted by speculators. Over-speculated tea has enormous profits, and “year-old” old tea is sought after. Lu Caiyou, Dean of the Longrun Pu’er Tea College of Yunnan Agricultural University, said that tea leaves are very different due to personal preferences in addition to daily consumption. To a certain extent, they even possess the unique attributes of works of art, and there is significant uncertainty in their prices.
Mr. Wen told reporters that some popular “investment teas” can be doubled as long as they get the goods and change hands in the past few years. The income is simply huge profits. Therefore, some people do not hesitate to borrow money and sell real estate for investment. At present, although the price of some teas is getting higher and higher, it is challenging to realize the “prices but no market,” and investors have suffered severe losses.
Some criminals also use investors’ mentality to pursue high returns to commit crimes. In 2019, the Public Security Bureau of Gui’an New District, Guizhou Province, notified a fraud case involving the “Cha Piao” network platform, involving a total of 197 million yuan. Police investigations found that the criminal suspect had issued “tea tickets” on the Internet platform and illegally obtained funds from more than 3,000 investors through internal manipulation of transaction prices.
Tea is for drinking, not for commercial speculation.
Interviewees believe that the healthy development of the tea industry should not lead to inflated prices or even turn into collectibles and financial derivatives. Tea is used for drinking, not for commercial speculation. It must be based on ordinary consumers and provide products with safe quality and reasonable prices. Agriculture, market supervision, discipline inspection commissions, and other departments should strengthen intervention and guidance, promptly crackdown on some emerging problems, and prevent the “four winds” behind them and corruption risks.
“The development of the tea industry must emphasize green, healthy, and rational. If it becomes too much for ordinary people to drink, it will not have a long-term future,” said Mr. Chen, the operator of an oolong tea shop in Fujian.
Lawyer Sun Wenjie, deputy director of Yunnan Lingyun Law Firm, believes that the competent authorities need to enhance service awareness and supervision, strengthen industry management, and guide the healthy development of the industry.
Mr. Wen believes that the government should not blindly encourage the expansion of production but should insist on guidance on technology and standards. Take a specific place in Hunan as an example. In recent years, more than 200 black tea companies have been registered, primarily small workshops. The quality of the products is uneven, and the sales methods are also “smart.” However, due to poor consumer reputation and overdraft of market reputation, the industry has not grown.
Tao Guangcan, vice chairman of the Guizhou Tea Industry Economic Expert Committee, suggested that it is difficult to establish a unified judgment standard for the tea industry due to the wide variety and distinctive geographical features. It is necessary to increase the tea industry’s concentration further, establish a standardized industrial model, create an influential tea brand, and integrate the market and standardize standards through large enterprises. Big data should also be used to trace the entire process of tea planting, processing, and sales and establish a full-chain quality supervision system.
Liu Yicheng, president of the Kunming Tea Industry Association, suggests that tea lovers consume rationally. He said that although tea has health benefits, it is not the same as medicine after all. People of different physiques have different physiological reactions to tea, and they must be cautious and vigilant in the promotion of tea that claims to have therapeutic effects.
Xinhua News Agency “Xinhua Viewpoint” reporters Wu Wenxu, Xiang Dingjie, Yang Jing