After opening more than 20,000 stores in China, Mixue, a Chinese tea-based beverages brand, has been gradually investing more resources in its overseas market expansion. Recently, its first store in Australia opened in Sydney’s World Square, a large shopping centre, and the turnover on the first day of trial operation exceeded 24,000 yuan ($3,507).
Compared with most Mixue stores, the new outlet has a larger area and a more fashionable style that feature panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows and red steel frames. In addition to Sydney, two other stores are to be opened in Brisbane and Melbourne, with the Brisbane location almost ready to open.
According to data disclosed by Mixue, as of the middle of last year, the number of overseas stores has exceeded 1,000 outlets. Franchisees are mainly Chinese individuals who live in the country, and those with strong management ability can open multiple stores. Every franchisee needs to receive training locally.
Based on the materials exported from China to these locations, most of the products sold in Mixue’s overseas locations are consistent with those found in China. The main consumer groups are students from China and local college students. For the first store in Sydney, Mixue launched a promotional campaign that offered “1000 Sydney students to enjoy a drink for free”. The company has made it clear that, although pricing will be different, the quality will remain the same. “Each country has different pricing, but no matter which country our store is opened, it will maintain high quality and low prices,” the company said.
In 2021, Zhang Hongchao, the founder of Mixue, stated an ambitious goal – “for only two dollars people around the world should be able to eat and drink well.” Up to now, the vision of Mixue has been changed to “make the brand stronger, make the partners richer, and let everyone in the world enjoy high-quality, affordable and delicious products.”
Mixue’s rivals are also exploring their own global expansion. As early as 2018, HeyTea and Naixue set up shop in Singapore. Subsequently, the two companies targeted the Japanese market. HeyTea has posted a recruitment notice, showing the plan to open the first Japanese store in Tokyo in March 2020. However, due to the impact of the epidemic, the Japanese store has not yet opened. In July 2021, Naixue’s store opened in Japan, covering an area of about 200 square meters.
Chagee, a tea brand started in Yunnan Province, focuses on the Southeast Asian market. Since the first store in Malaysia in 2019, Chagee has opened more than 60 stores in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
The golden age of the tea market in China has come to an end. iiMedia Research’s data shows that in 2016-2019, the scale of China’s tea makers’ revenue surged from 29.1 billion yuan to 204.48 billion yuan. However, in 2020-2025, the growth rate substantially slowed down.
Therefore, global expansion has become a better way to seek growth. Taking the Southeast Asia market as an example, there are many potential milk tea consumers, and a large number of Chinese, overseas students and tourists whose eating habits are close to those in China. In August 2022, a report released by Momentum Works, a venture outfit headquartered in Singapore, showed that Southeast Asian consumers spent as much as $3.66 billion a year on tea, among which Indonesia and Thailand were the largest markets.