HeyTea Enters Healthy Soda Market With Spin-Off Brand

Chinese leading upscale tea chain HeyTea is marching into the realm of healthy ready-to-drink products with 3 fruit tea sodas. The three sodas are launched under its affordable sub-brand Little HeyTea Factory, which was founded in March this year and only launched a bottled NFC juice product before. On the first day of the product release, HeyTea cooperated with top e-commerce livestreamer Viya to hold a special sale for the soda and again became an internet sensation. Passionate consumers snapped up 300,000 bottles, 25,000 boxes of HeyTea soda in an instant in the channel.

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At present, HeyTea sodas are available at all its offline stores, including regular stores and pick-up only stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The sodas have also made it onto the shelves of 7-11 convenience stores in south China’s Guangdong Province. Starting July 16, the product will be available in Family Mart convenience stores in Shanghai, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Jiaxing. The product will also be sold in JD.com’s flagship store and Alibaba’s Freshippo (Hema) supermarkets in selected cities.

The bottled soda, which features its “0 calories, 0 fat, 0 sugar” concept, targets China’s growing savvy, health-conscious youth community. The price and offline distribution model of HeyTea soda puts it in the league of Diet Coke, Sprite Zero and Calories-Free Soda by Genki Forest, a healthy bottled beverage brand that rise to the scene in the past two years.

HeyTea has made conscious efforts in introducing healthy alternatives to Chinese consumers long before the launch of the soda. Since 2018, the chain has provided a stevia option, which is a calorie-free sugar substitute, for all its cheese tea and milk tea products that contains sugar since.

HeyTea soda now has 3 flavors, including Grapefruit Green Tea, Peach Oolong Tea and Grape Green Tea. The price for one bottle is RMB 5.5, making it the cheapest in the upscale HeyTea family.

HeyTea is rumored to have completed a new round of financing led by Hillhouse Capital and Coatue with its post-investment valuation possibly exceeding 16 billion yuan, the Chinese tech media outlet 36Kr learned from multiple independent sources.