China (population 1.354 billion)
is a producer as well as a consumer.
Detailed statistics on the internal consumption of coffee are not readily
available but all the indicators suggest that it has grown very rapidly over
the past ten years or so. Gross imports into China (including Hong Kong and
Macau) in 2009 reported by the ICO totalled 617,000
bags, although the true figure is probably much higher as not all the imports
of coffee from neighbouring countries such as Viet Nam are always recorded. Of
the gross import total, 34%
comprised processed coffee. Exports and re-exports totalled 568,000
bags, (536,000 bags
green, 26,000 bags soluble and 6,000 bags roasted).
Internal production, primarily in the Yunnan Province, is thought to have been
around 550,000 bags in 2009. This suggests that
consumption might be somewhere in the region around 600,000
bags in 2009.
Chinese arabica is becoming fairly well known abroad and certainly
in Europe where the bulk of the green bean exports were destined.
Nestlé, which is the market leader and accounts for around 68%
of the retail value of the coffee market in China, has been
active in promoting internal production and obtains as much of its raw material
requirements from local sources as it can. It has achieved very good market
penetration and its Nescafé brand, including ready to serve coffee mixes, is
widely available throughout China.
However, over the last ten years or so
there has also been an explosion in the number of new American-style coffee
bars opening up in all the major cities. Starbucks alone has opened more than
400 new shops in different cities throughout China since 1999 and other similar
companies have also been expanding at the same rate. As a result coffee is
acquiring a more modern image and is becoming a very popular beverage with the
Most of China’s coffee imports originate from countries in the
region. Vietnam is the top supplier, accounting for 86%
of gross imports of green coffee, Indonesia is second, Brazil third and
Colombia fourth. Both Brazil and Colombia have made significant
investments in promoting their coffee in China.