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Shenzhen brews perfect blend for coffee industry

(By Chen Hong in Shenzhen, Guangdong) Update:2023-05-06

Local residents and visitors flocked to an outdoor coffee market in the downtown area of Shenzhen, a southern metropolis neighboring Hong Kong, to try new recipes and enjoy the unique atmosphere during the five-day May Day holiday that ended on Wednesday.

More than 180 coffee brands, including boutique coffee brands, chain coffee brands and niche community coffee brands from inside and outside the city, had a presence at the market. It opened from April 28 to May 3 at the outdoor space of One Avenue, one of the city's largest commercial complexes with an area of about 300,000 square meters.

On May 1, a record high of 200,000 people visited One Avenue, lured in by the aroma of coffee and the fame of the market, which has been held for three consecutive years in Futian district.

Long queues could be seen in front of many coffee booths, especially popular brands from outside the city. Some booth operators said sales could reach more than 10,000 yuan ($1,445) a day during the holiday.

"I didn't really expect the coffee market to be so lively here in Shenzhen and the consumers are willing to try new tastes," said a manager of WSM Coffee, a brand from Beijing famous for its custom coffee blends, Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported.

Shenzhen, a city known for innovation, is leading domestically in the number of coffee-related companies, which stood at around 10,000 by the end of last year.

Of them, more than 1,300 coffee shops are located in Futian, the central district and financial center of the city, making it an urban area with one of the most intensive networks of coffee shops in China. It estimates that 17 coffee shops are located within a 500-meter radius in Futian, given its total area of 78 square kilometers, according to official figures.

The district government of Futian was keenly aware of the emerging coffee business and launched the annual coffee festival in 2021, which included the coffee market, a cultivation program of local baristas and a series of cultural activities and forums associated with the theme of coffee, to drive consumption.

The district government, together with a bank, issued coupons for coffee and beverages with a total value of 4.66 million yuan this year to subsidize consumers.

As a result, the coffee companies are booming in the district and have developed their own style.

Coffee shops in Futian are often located in office buildings and business areas with dense populations of office workers. Besides coffee, they also serve simple food and snacks to fit the fast-paced lifestyle of the white-collar workers in the bustling city.

In terms of operating hours, many coffee shops in Futian are open from early in the morning until 9 pm, which is relatively rare in other cities.

Some of the local brands have started to expand domestically.

Something For, a coffee shop based in Futian that has been operating roughly 20 outlets for five years in Shenzhen, started its national deployment after opening shops in the neighboring city of Dongguan and in Hefei of East China's Anhui province, according to a report by qianzhan.com.

The district government said it will continue to promote mutual empowerment between coffee brands and various settings such as commercial areas, streets, and communities, to continuously create a diverse and quality commercial district in Futian.


Three women dressed in traditional clothing chat in a coffee market in One Avenue, one of the largest commercial complexes in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. CHINA DAILY


People wait in a line to buy coffee from a truck at the market. CHINA DAILY