|Photo : Smart Shanghai|
By making premium a previously basic drink in China - milk tea or bubble tea – and by creating a buzz on the Internet, several new chains specifically target the millenials. One of them, the Heytea chain, seems to stand out.
Ifanr, a Chinese media on WeChat aimed at a readership of 'trendsetters and early adopters of new lifestyles', published a series of three articles focused on Heytea, the chain of tea-based drinks. ‘But why are you willing to stand in line for 4-5 hours for a Heytea drink?’, ‘Milk tea: how the upmarket move of the drinking habits among young people is linked to the economy of the attractiveness index ', ' With its rising popularity and its beautiful shops, is Heytea still far from Starbucks?’: these titles speak for themselves and make you want to know more.
Founded in 2012 in Jiangmen in the Guangdong province by Nie Yunchen, a 'jiulinghou' (90 后, born in the 1990s), Heytea (originally named HEEKCAA, and then Heytea for phonetic convenience) currently has more than 50 stores mainly in southern China. The chain announced in August 2016 having raised CN¥ 100 million (US$ 14, 5 million) and opened its first store in Shanghai’s Raffles City in February 2017. The long lineups attracted the attention of the local press which has taken an interest in the revival of bubble tea. A journalist with Smart Shanghai information website tested Heytea drinks and describes his half-hearted impression.