Origin of White Tea in Fuding: Sailing Dreams for Mutual Success

The First International White Tea Conference held in Fuding, Fujian Province.

Fuding, the cradle of white tea, hosted its inaugural International White Tea Conference from November 30 to December 1 under the theme “Origin of White Tea in Fuding: Sailing Dreams for Mutual Success.” Over 300 distinguished guests, including international tea experts, industry leaders, embassy representatives, officials from major tea-producing regions, and buyers, gathered in Fuding. This convergence aimed to build consensus for international collaboration, propel the integration of tea, culture, and tourism, foster leading enterprises, and facilitate the global expansion of high-quality white tea.

Origin of White Tea in Fuding: Sailing Dreams for Mutual Success

Fuding White Tea, as the sole representative of Chinese tea, takes part in the 2023 China Cultural Week in Dubai. Captured by Cai Lijun.

The conference kicked off with an opening ceremony featuring a keynote address on “International White Tea Development,” a roundtable discussion on “International Perspectives on White Tea,” and a tea country tour. During the opening ceremony, Fuding City was officially designated as the exclusive host for the International White Tea Conference and the permanent venue for the release of the Hurun China Tea Enterprise Top 100.

Throughout the event, international guests from the tea industry embarked on a journey into the traditional craftsmanship of white tea making, recognized as an intangible cultural heritage in Fuding. They visited and explored the Pin Pin Xiang self-automated production line, the ecological tea gardens, and exhibition halls at the Lv Xue Ya Manor, as well as the MWT White Tea Museum, gaining firsthand experience of the charm of the birthplace of white tea.

Guests invited to the “International Perspectives on White Tea” roundtable discussion engaged in discussions on the current status and development trends of the international tea production and consumer market. They delved into strategies for expanding exports, building brands, and exploring international markets, sharing experiences and insights. Discussions also covered topics such as mutual visits by international trade promotion groups, recommendations for domestic and international sales channels, and strengthening international collaboration. Together, they provided in-depth counsel for the internationalization of white tea, driving the leadership of the international market, promoting the sharing of healthy beverages, and charting a clear direction for future development.

For years, Fuding white tea has adhered to a “going global” development strategy, actively participating in international tea trade through various forms of collaboration. The city has collaborated with renowned international brands, developed derivative products, established cross-border e-commerce, and ventured into online international trade. These efforts have given rise to a group of white tea export enterprises specializing in diverse categories, including raw material supply, derivative products, and the development of new tea beverages. This year, Fuding City, under government leadership, organized a group of tea enterprises to participate in the HKTDC Food Expo and represented China as the sole participant in the 2023 China Cultural Week in Dubai, propelling Fuding white tea onto the world stage and composing a new chapter: “World White Tea in China, Chinese White Tea in Fuding.”

Jiangmei Village, Diantou Town in the city of Fuding, stands as a High-Standard Ecological Tea Plantation Demonstration Base. Captured by Zhu Naizhang.

Share the aroma of Chinese white tea with the world. In recent years, Fuding City has actively enhanced the international influence of Chinese white tea. In December 2022, Fuding City facilitated the addition of a separate customs tariff code for white tea. This distinct classification streamlines customs accounting reduces classification disputes, and simultaneously promotes the production and trade of Chinese white tea. It holds significant importance for expanding the international market and increasing the global influence of the tea industry.

In November 2022, Fuding white tea craftsmanship was uniquely recognized as the representative of Chinese white tea in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This recognition further advances the promotion and dissemination of China’s intangible cultural heritage in tea culture, spreading the excellence of Chinese tea worldwide.

In 2022, the International Tea Committee bestowed the titles of “the Origin of World White Tea” and “World White Tea Cultural Industry and Technology Center” upon Fuding City, solidifying its international status. This move contributes to attracting attention from the global tea community, collectively establishing an exemplary showcase and an attractive international profile for the tea industry.

Several major international tea events, such as the International White Tea Conference, International White Tea Forum, and the “Maritime Silk Road International Tea Culture Forum”, have been successively held in Fuding. These events continuously drive the sustainable development of the white tea industry, broaden collaboration and exchange channels with global industry organizations, domestic and foreign tea enterprises, and tea enthusiasts, accelerating the pace of Chinese white tea’s global presence.

As one of the top ten tea-producing counties (cities) in China and the hometown of Chinese white tea, Fuding boasts a tea plantation area of approximately 305,000 acres. In 2022, the comprehensive output value of Fuding’s white tea industry reached 13.891 billion yuan. In 2023, Fuding’s white tea, with a brand value of 6.07 billion yuan, has consecutively entered the “Top 10 Regional Public Brand Values of Chinese Tea” for 14 years. With over 2,800 tea enterprises and more than 10,000 distribution points nationwide, the tea industry provides over 100,000 jobs and effectively uplifts the income of 380,000 individuals involved in tea-related activities. The per capita income of tea farmers in the city has increased from less than 1,000 yuan 15 years ago to 15,000 yuan in 2021. The tea industry has become a crucial pillar industry, shouldering the responsibility of rural revitalization.

Data indicates that the production of Fuding white tea has surged from 3,700 tons in 2007 to 27,000 tons in 2023, now constituting over 30% of China’s white tea production. This dominant position has elevated the entire white tea market, transforming it from a niche category to a rising star in the tea industry. (By Liao Shixiong)

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