Increasing Kiwi demand for an Asian beverage known as bubble tea will see Australasia's fastest growing tea brand double the number of their New Zealand stores next year.
Bubble Tea or boba tea is a tea drink made with soft tapioca balls called pearls. Originally created in Taiwan in the 1980’s, the beverage has gained popularity in markets around the world. Globally, sales of tapioca pearls are part of $5.4bn market and are growing at a rate of 4% per annum.
Marcus Teh, Gong Cha’s New Zealand manager, says the company will add another three stores to New Zealand next year. The company will also employ 20 local staff in addition to the team of 30 currently working for the company.
Since launching just over a decade ago, Gong Cha has opened 1500 stores, including more than 600 outlets in USA, South East Asia and Australia - making it the fastest growing tea brand in this part of the world, says Teh.
“Bubble tea has been well received in the New Zealand market and is growing at around 20% per year here,” he says.
He says the new store will open in Auckland’s Sylvia Park mall this month.
“With over 12.6 million customers each year, Sylvia Park is the country’s largest mall and has made a significant investment in developing a new food and beverage offering - one that we feel will increase the appeal of the mall as a culinary destination outside of the CBD,
“The opening of Gong Cha in Sylvia Park signals our expansion and ability to meet the demand from a wider demographic wanting to purchase the products. Already popular with Asian communities, we now have a growing demand with other parts of the Kiwi market,” he says.
Gong Cha was recently voted the most popular food and beverage brand in Singapore, and was also named the most popular tea brand in Korea.
In New Zealand Gong Cha is owned by the ST Group. The company also manages other retail brands such as Papparich and Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts turning over $8 million in sales and employing over 60 staff.