Shanghai pushes China's coffee industry to nearly $40b

Updated: May 1, 2024 By He Qi Print
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People attend the Shanghai International Coffee Culture Festival in Shanghai. [Photo provided to]

The scale of China's coffee industry has achieved tremendous growth in the past few years, reaching 265.4 billion yuan ($36.7 billion) in 2023, with Shanghai making the greatest contribution to this, according to a report revealed at the opening ceremony of the Shanghai International Coffee Culture Festival on Wednesday.

Co-released by Hongqiao International Coffee Hub, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, online service platform Meituan, and food delivery platform Eleme, China's Urban Coffee Development Report 2024 pointed out that the average annual compound growth rate of the national coffee industry in the past three years has reached 17.14 percent.

The average per capita coffee consumption volume in China has reached 16.74 cups in 2023, almost double the figure of nine cups in 2016, the report showed.

Meanwhile, Shanghai continues to lead the world in the number of cafes by having 9,553 coffee shops at the end of 2023, the most for any city globally.

People attend the Shanghai International Coffee Culture Festival in Shanghai. [Photo provided to]

Xu Jian, vice-dean of the School of Media & Communication of Shanghai Jiao Tong University who released the report at the ceremony, said the number of coffee outlets in Shanghai accounted for 6.1 percent of the total number in the nation, an increase of 1,023 outlets compared to 2022.

At the same time, Shanghai is becoming an important city for China's coffee exports and a hub for foreign coffee enterprises, reaching 384,859 foreign coffee companies in 2023, Xu added.

"The total export volume of coffee beans by Shanghai enterprises accounted for over 40 percent of the country last year. The export value of concentrated coffee or coffee-based products in Shanghai exceeded 21.45 million yuan in 2023, with a growth rate of over 70 percent compared to 2019," Xu said.

The thriving coffee culture also brought global attention to local coffee products, driving the increase of innovative Chinese special favor coffee such as tea-based coffee and raw coconut lattes, Xu said.

People attend the Shanghai International Coffee Culture Festival in Shanghai. [Photo provided to]

According to Eleme, the orders for take-out coffee in Shanghai increased by 40 percent from 2019 to 2023, with the major consumer group aged between 28 and 43.

Cheng Yuanyuan, director of public affairs at Eleme, further said consumers aged between 12 and 27 might become a potential consumption power in the future since their coffee orders have increased in recent years. In addition, nearly 70 percent of the coffee consumers on Eleme were women.

"The sales of take-out coffee in Shanghai alone accounted for 20 percent of all cities in the country in 2023," Cheng said.

"Shanghai is the birthplace of Chinese coffee culture, where coffee has infiltrated the lives of citizens and integrated into urban development, becoming a unique symbol of urban culture," said Wang Yayuan, deputy head of the municipality's publicity department.

People attend the Shanghai International Coffee Culture Festival in Shanghai. [Photo provided to]

"Nowadays, coffee has become a world-class city name card for Shanghai, and also an important reason to attract young people from all over the world to come to Shanghai, stay in Shanghai, and fall in love with Shanghai," Wang added.

The largest coffee carnival in the city, which combines sports, culture, tourism, and exhibitions, is held on the West Bund from April 30 to May 4, gathering together coffee markets, time-honored brands, sports events, and performances on the 1.5-kilometer waterfront.

As the major market of this year's Shanghai International Coffee Culture Festival, the carnival attracted over 180 coffee booths, including international brands such as Lavazza and Costa, and local specialty coffee brands.

This year's coffee culture festival also collaborated with 16 districts as well as Lin-gang New Area, to launch events such as the Bund Coffee Festival at the Bund Finance Center, a coffee drama festival in Changning district, a coffee camping culture festival in Putuo district and a global coffee industry development forum in Minhang district.

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