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MINGCHA BRAND PROFILE AND MARKET ANALYSIS

http://www.mingcha.com.hk

Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited

1
Did you know?
The most expensive tea ever was a Teguanyin sold for USD 16,410 for 100 grams in Hong Kong in 2002.

What is your
customers

profile?
What is your customers' profile? Do they appreciate genuine quality? Would they aspire to the aroma that touches the
souls of Hollywood superstars? Or the tastes that capture
the hearts of renowned chefs? Or health nature that opens
the minds of medical scientists? Are they looking for something different? Are they ready for MingCha?
Would your operation benefit from a most surprising premium brand?
In this document, we shall discuss the unique opportunity of
carrying the world's most prestigious brand of a redefined
product category that is on the upward trend premium
Chinese tea, and why it can contribute to your business.

degree or above

The demographic trend in Hong


Kong echoes more or less those of
other developed economies,
signifying a shift of the
consumer market from younger
age groups to the more matured
and educated.

secondary or above

primary

kindergarten or less

Hong Kong Population:


Education level of people over the age of 15

Hong Kong Population:


The growth of the knowledge-based working class

AM

Are your target customers getting smarter


and more picky? What are the benefits
they look for in a product? What do they
want? Quality? Value? Or just plain
cheaper prices? Are they the top 10% of
the market? Or the rest?

I
who
1999 Leo Kwan Limited

Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited

The MingCha Tea Bar is designed to allow open access to a finest traditional drink. Chef Noboru Ishii of Japan is seen here serving in Pacific Place,
Hong Kong after successfully finishing his tea evangelist qualification examination by MingCha. "I have never known Chinese tea so high quality
before!" The Gran Chef of Monterey Edelhof in Sapporo exclaimed as he discovered our brand and began seriously studying our selection.

3
Did you know?
It costs less to make a pot of fine oolong than to pop a can of cola.

A global market

trend

The global sales of better quality Chinese tea have been on


the upward surge ever since 1995. In USA, the market has
increased by two and a half times. In Japan, the import of
loose-leaf tea in consumer packs from China makes a twodigit rise every single year. Chinese tearooms bloom in
Paris, Tokyo and New York.
One reason for this phenomenal growth is the demographic
trend in these developed countries, which brings with it a
life style shift for health and quality consciousness. "Tea is
beating all scientific expectations as the most potent health
beverage ever!" Declared Dr John Weisburger of American
Health Foundation.
This same demographic shift is happening in a dramatic
scale also in Hong Kong. Premium tea, with its potent
health contribution nature, fine gourmet quality, and strong
sense of heritage, is a natural answer to the market of a
maturing population.

"I use MingCha because I want my


tearooms to be the best in Japan."
Takako Tamaya, Sapporo Regional
Director of F&B giant Tasco System
declared as she decided to employ
MingCha as the key feature in the
tearooms annex to her restaurants. The
first Japanese to have passed the
MingCha Evangelist qualification, she
is seen here receiving the certificate after
examination by Leo Kwan.

China: Oolong and specialty tea export

Hong Kong Population:


Rise of the mean age signifies a
main stream middle age market

Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited

MingChas proprietary Interactive Tea Selection Guide is a unique


and powerful POS promotional and sales support tool

5
Did you know?
In Chaozhou, the gungfu tea capital of the world, the most popular tea by far is Phoenix, not Teguanyin.

Renaissance
of a

heritage

Leo Kwan (right) with a production


coordinator during a harvest inspection

To tap into this potential and gain sustainable growth, one


needs to deliver values and true quality in an effective
format. The market needs a reliable product of the highest
quality in an accessible, inspiring and comprehensible
package. It asks for a brand that is different and desirable.
Solid product knowledge, leading edge professional finesse,
and a visionary understanding of the market itself are required to develop such a product. It takes dedication and
enduring commitment to build a brand of solid quality.
Premium tea will not uphold as a gimmick, a Chinatown
souvenir or catered only for a small local connoisseur group
as in the past.
This passion for bringing the true heritage of fine tea back
to life has allowed MingCha to hone in the optimum
pricing, quality, selection, services, sales supports and
approaches. These are important ground work to develop in
the right target group a premium tea consumption pattern
and brand loyalty. Our leadership in brand image, product
quality, operation concept and marketing communication
are important to redefine this category in the context of the
contemporary market.

The MingCha Guide to Premium


Chinese Tea is a popular reference by tea
professionals and connoisseurs alike.

Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited

MingChas Private Reserve


series was spied and selected
by the Academy Awards
committee for the official
Celebrity Gift Basket and
became the first and only
product from China to be so
honoured. Also the first tea.
The series is selected yearly
from extreme quality tea
production batches of very
limited quantity. Each can is
edition numbered with a
pencil, not unlike that in an
art edition.

I use MingCha because I


want my tearooms to be the
best in Japan. Takako
Tamaya, Sapporo Area
Director for Tasco System,
declared as she decided to
employ MingCha
as the key feature in the
tearooms annex to her
restaurants. Tasco System
operates a number of fine
restaurant chains and brands
in Japan.

Hanspeter Reichmuth, a most


respected trader of the finest
and rarest tea and chocolate in
Switzerland, made his first
small import lot in 2001 when
he discovered the quality of
MingCha. 3 years and 3
increasing orders later, he is
committed to fully promoting
MingCha in his market.
Absolutely outstanding! has
been consistently his comment
on our quality.

It is obvious that only


people who compassionately
believe in the culture and
benefits of tea could invest so
much for such a taken for
granted product. Xuen Guo,
a pioneer in tea polyphenol
extraction and ex-scientist in
Chinas Central Tea
Research Institute, endorses
MingCha for its efforts in
quality and in popularizing
fine tea drinking.

Jane Pettigrew, world-famous


tea writer and critic based in
London, loves the way we
present the knowledge of tea the
most and in particular, the
MingCha Guide to Premium
Chinese Tea. This elegant little
book is one of the most useful
and charming books on Chinese
teas that I have ever had the
pleasure to possess and read
not just helpful but beautifully
written and enticing.

Did you know?


Shanghai and Hong Kong are behind Ireland and UK in tea consumption by as much as 1.8 kg per capita.

Internationally
acclaimed

quality

"It is exclusively through quality that we can experience real


tea, explore the variety and celebrate the difference," said
Yuji Wakiya, host to the NHK TV program, 'Pleasures
with Chinese Tea' and executive chef to a major fine restaurant group in Japan. "That is why I work with MingCha to
develop the selection for my restaurants and brand." One by
one, as food and retail professionals of top-notch quality
and prestige begin to understand the values a premium
Chinese tea brand has to offer, it becomes logical for them
to choose MingCha.
MingCha is the only Chinese product and the only tea ever
selected for the official Academy Awards (Oscar)
Celebrity Gift Basket. It has also been nominated by Swiss
beverage experts for the Slow Food Awards.
MingChas unique production management system and close
partnership with traditional style small tea farms are instrumental to maintain the pristine quality and value perception
that the brand is known for.

Leo Kwans explicit description of the


production of a traditional oolong
was unprecedented in any language.
The story has been published in
Japanese, French and English in
various international media.

Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited

White Tea joint promotion with Bvlgari Parfum in Hong Kong

9
Did you know?
Tea polyphenol is 100 times more potent than vitamin C and 30 times than Vitamin E in anti-oxidant effects.

A class
of

distinction
However, quality alone does not sell. MingChas unique
marketing concept combines the elegance of cosmetics, the
depth of a vintage wine, the seduction of a traditional
handicraft, the medicinal expression of an herb, and the
sentiment of a life-style all delivered in a global,
contemporary, and yet unmistakably Chinese totality. Our
innovative way of presentation makes premium tea accessible and desirable once again for all people, whether connoisseurs or laymen, Chinese or not.
Our passion for perfection in all aspects of the product has
won for us the appreciation from serious connoisseurs, prestigious retailers, and traditional tea traders worldwide.
MingCha was selected a Trends and Innovation product in
Paris in SIAL 2000 and has attracted copycats from different
corners of the world.

other brands
43%

MingCha:
57% of
total tea
category

2003 MingCha sales share of ambient


products of the loose leaf tea category
at the test location.

Our direction works. In a test retail store where MingCha


ambient products has been put together with more than
twenty other brands of tea and hundreds of other SKUs,
MingChas annual turnover in 2003 was 14% more than that
of all the others combined. In the year of this record, no
localized promotions, special displays, or price reduction
were exercised. Our general marketing, branding direction,
packing designs and product quality are clear winning
elements. That spot was chosen because we were able to
obtain actual sales data of the category and that MingCha
was equally treated like other brands.

Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited

A customer appears in an RTHK half hour program about MingChas brand building efforts. Attracting media opportunities like this has been part of
MingChas competitive edge, due to the brands unique background and mission.

11
Did you know?
There can be a few hundred mg of polyphenols in a cup of fine tea and none at all in a ready-to-drink tea.

Business

advantage
For the customers, MingCha is a non-replaceable daily need
once taken on. "All other teas are undrinkable after tasting
MingCha!" Exclaimed Dr KJ Patel, a wine master and a
molecular biologist at Cambridge, who got acquainted with
MingCha at our London outlet in Selfridges, wrote to tell us
about the tea tasting sessions he hosted for his colleagues
and wine friends.
The informative and specialist presentation of MingCha is
balanced with an elegance in a unique style that gives the
brand its distinctive charm, which is able to add depth to
even the most prestigious environment.
The business appeal of MingCha comes also from the very
nature of the product itself: it is a drink that can be served in
addition to being a popular packaged product. MingCha is
developed such that the drink business and the packaged
goods cross promote each other to maximize the potential in
any given commercial space. Actual sales records show that
the turnover of MingCha ambient products increases more
than 4 times with the implementation of a tea service facility.
MingCha is a product and service concept unique for all its
high calibre components that differentiate the brand from
other traditional or gimmicky operations using tea as the
raw material.
MingCha can be coupled nicely with
tea nibbles, dimsum, fusion food,
sandwiches or even conventional
pastry (as in the photo below)
depending on the theme of the location.

Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited

The future of good tea: School girls in the community where our Phoenix line comes from. It is only through a healthy market
economy for the tea trade that can ensure continual development in traditional fine tea production.

13
Did you know?
It takes at least 28 hours to hand-process a traditional oolong, but only two to make a commercial green tea.

Vision
mission &

dedication
We have searched major tea production areas in China and
couldnt find the quality presented right here at the convenience of a shop in my hometown. How they are possible to
attain such consistency in quality throughout the selections
really puzzles us. Anyway, we are now using MingCha teas
as a standard to judge all our other discoveries, explained
Siu Fan Hong, a veteran tea connoisseur in Hong Kong.
Being a quality benchmark for those who are serious is very
flattering for us. However, the population of the existing
connoisseur circle is not a large enough consumer base for
to develop a successful brand. In order to sustain long term
growth in fine tea consumption, MingCha is dedicated to
take fine Chinese tea into the mainstream market. The previous pages in this document reveal the direction we have
set and the milestones we have covered.

Tea economy 123: a plucker in India


makes 1 to 2 US dollar a month, whereas
her counterpart in an oolong area in
China makes at least 3 US dollar a day.
Sustaining this situation is possible only
when fine tea is in demand. MingCha is
dedicated to the sustainable economic
development in rural China by promoting
fine tea to the consumer market.

Popularizing traditional fine teas benefits not only the


consumers, but also the producers whose very hands make
these teas. It is only through a strong demand in a market
economy that the true tea tradition and the people who
dedicate their lives to it can flourish and elevate. Similarly
the ability of the market to appreciate the difference of fine
traditional tea raises the demand. A healthy supply and
demand relationship ensures the prosperity of MingCha and
the tea economy which it is a part of. Therefore, all our
strategies and operation details are long-term oriented.
We are dedicated to bringing the benefits of fine tea to the
world market and all those who are involved in this. Differentiating a unique quality makes us different.

Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited

Leo was guest presenter in the reputable Salone del Gusto held by Slow Food. Presiding over this workshop was Slow Food International President,
Giacomo Mojoli (right). A highly specialist profile of MingCha helps the brand to gain clear leadership in quality reputation.

15

Did you know?


A cup of tea prepared properly in the gungfu style can be 10 times stronger in its salutary contents and yet
tastes better than one in the conventional big pot, even with the same kind of tea leaves.

MingCha:
a path of

evolution
1998

Conception of the MingCha brand


and product strategy;

2003

Launch of the Tea Bar by MingCha in


Hong Kong at Pacific Place

Masterminded, operation concept and


original shop design for Moon Garden
Tea House, Hong Kong
2000

MingCha packaged products launched


in Paris at SIAL 2000 and won Product
of Trends and Innovation recognition;

First group of Japanese tea student


passed MingCha Tea Evangelist standard test
2004

Endorsement from Dr Marvin Edeas


during Tea Expo 2000 in Paris and
became brand image case study in several European tea and packaging companies
2001

2002

Launch of the MingCha Tea Bar in


Selfridges, London;

A batch of MingCha's Wuyi Supreme


tea won Best Tea Award in Annual
Xiamen International Tea Competition
Radio Television Hong Kong (Hong
Kong governments official station)
released an half hour program on
MingCha

Won endorsement from Chef Yuji


Wakiya during FoodEx, who soon came
to HK to establish OEM agreement
Supply and set tea standards and flows
for Ichiemei Charou, the signature tea
house by Chef Yuji Wakiya

Supply and set operation standards


and flows for the tearoom of Daylesford
Organic Farmshop, UKs influential
Bamfords family food business
headshop in Gloucestershire, England.

Publication of "Not All Teas Are


Created Equal A MingCha Guide to
Premium Chinese Tea" and raised international trade attention to premium
Chinese tea

Leo was Head of traditional Chinese


tea producer delegation to Slow Foods
Terra Madre in Turin, Italy, an international convention of traditional food
producers

Reichmuth von Reding, the most


respected fine tea and chocolate dealer
in Switzerland, began carrying
MingCha.

Leo was Guest Presenter at the Taste


Workshop in Salone del Gusto by Slow
Food

Nominated and selected for inclusion


in the Academy Awards Celebrity Gift
Basket as the first (and only as of now)
Chinese brand so honoured, and the
only tea
Conception of the MingCha Tea Bar
idea and began consultation for Japanese
hospitality trades
MingCha trademark internationally
registered successfully

2005

MingCha launched in Globus in


Switzerland
MingCha Tea Bar began operation in
Lee Gardens Hong Kong
Launch of the first standalone shop in
Hong Kong

MingCha
standard

modules
Interactive Tea Selection Guide

Tea Bar Module

MingChas proprietary interactive


computer selection guide is a popular
POS to help the customer decide on
what kind of tea to buy. This works in
conjunction with the MingCha Guide to
Premium Chinese Tea book and are
extremely useful in sales persuasion.
Some customers, especially those in
some of our target groups, do prefer the
computer screen or the printed page to
the sales person for understanding our
selections. The interactive guide is
presented in Chinese and English,
whereas the book in English and
Japanese.

The bar can be customized to fit the


area available. The key to the uniqueness of the bar is the expert and
contemporary presentation of both the
tea and tea preparation. A MingCha
designed tea preparation process
ensures quality.
The menu includes a large, detail
specialist range; and a simple to choose,
user-friendly range.
Another key element in this
module is the specialism of the staff. A
proprietary and rigorous training
program ensures a team that is
knowledgeable, dedicated and skillful.

Packaged Tea Product Modules

Teaware Module

Tea service at the bar is proven to be an


efficient way to promote the selling of
the packaged products. There is a total
of 64 SKUs of existing regular packaged
tea and new products are coming up
every half year. As few as 5 SKUs, when
displayed properly, can project a strong
brand presence. In larger operation
environment, there is an array of special
MingCha products. Seasonal, novelty
and exclusive products can also be
added.

Tea service at the bar also helps to


promote the understanding of specialty
teaware, such as genuine Yixing
teapots, gaiwans etc. They add a definite specialist aura to the shop and can
be a good element in the turnover.
MingCha merchandised teaware pieces
project the same MingCha identity as
being modern and definitely Chinese.

Extensibility

Catering

An option for the bar is extended sitting


area. This can add the functions of a
traditional teahouse to the operation,
but presented in an integral style with
the same contemporary appeal of
MingCha. Tea service adds definite
advantage to the operation and promotion values. Depending on the target
clienteles of the location and operable
area, peripheral products and value
added services, such as tea classes,
specialist areas, activity area, and
demonstration area, etc, can be
installed.

Food can be served in selected


operations. This is a logical way to
promote tea consumption at all times:
breakfast, lunch, tea breaks, parties and
even late night munches. Premium
quality tea with a highly selected menu
not only helps to secure a basic turnover
but also attracts customers who has not
had an opportunity to appreciate truly
premium MingCha quality. Most items
are centrally produced for local finishing
in a simple food preparation room from
half finished products.

Exhibition

Packaged Food Products

Dependent on the space availability of


the individual operation, small exhibitions with on-going changing themes
helps to draw and retain traffic. This also
helps to maintain the cultural commitment of the MingCha brand direction.

Finest quality chocolate, organic honey


and jams, handmade cookies and
sweets, traditionally produced dried fruit
from around the world etc., can all be
individually promoted as successful
merchandizes and are good turnover
items. This category helps to maintain
constant traffic into the operation.

Trade enquiry by phone: (852) 2882 9812 by e-mail: enquiry@mingcha.com.hk

benefits
of tea

MingCha creator Leo Kwan in Selfridges London with renowned tea writer Jane Pettigrew.

This booklet summarizes the commercial values of including


MingCha in your operation. The contemporary, minimalist
and elegant brand image fits in easily any retail or hospitality
trade environment of quality and style. Its aura and exquisite
quality are of positive contribution to even the best of brands.
MingCha Premium Chinese Tea is a brew no less enlightening
than any red wine; a traditional hand-crafted product as pristine
as a hand-woven silk; a health drink as potent as any supplement or herbal; and a gourmet produce as fine as the best
chocolate. Forget about those stringed bags with tea dust or
mouldy old tea in painted tins. MingCha re-presents tea in its
grandest quality tradition for the contemporary global market.
Its modular operation system is a most friendly way to get involved in this category made feasible only by MingCha.

MingCha and

2003 Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited. All rights reserved.


are internationally registered trademarks owned by Lee Kwan Tea Trade Limited 1 Hoi Wan Street #703 Quarry Bay Hong Kong
phone: (852) 2882 9812 fax: (852) 2577 9117 e-mail: mingcha@mingcha.com.hk http://www.mingcha.com.hk