Can CHAGEE surpass Starbucks China this year? The secrets behind CHAGEE’s business are significant

21 May was International Tea Day, and CHAGEE founder Zhang Junjie shared figures to invigorate the market: in 2023, CHAGEE’s total sales reached 10.8 billion RMB (1.5 billion USD), while in the first quarter of 2024, sales reached 5.8 billion RMB (0.81 billion USD). It is expected that the revenue for the remainder of 2024 will be over 20 billion RMB (2.78 billion USD), doubling in growth. Zhang Junjie even declared that this year’s sales will surpass Starbucks China.

At the end of 2022, CHAGEE only had 1,000 shops, however, less than a year and a half later, the number of shops exceeded 4,500. This year, CHAGEE has also been rumoured more than once to be heading towards an IPO in the US. Currently, the Weibo hashtag #CHAGEE aims to become a world class tea beverage brand# (CHAGEE目标成为世界级茶饮品牌) has gained 100 miliion views.

CHAGEE started its business in Yunnan province in 2017. One of its products, the ‘Jasmine Green Milk Tea’ (伯牙绝弦) exploded on the internet in 2023, and Zhang Junjie revealed that they had sold 230 million cups that year. CHAGEE’s average monthly single-store sales in 2023 reached 24K cups. Behind the high-speed performance of the shop is production efficiency, according to Zhang Junjie, ‘the key is to collaborate with upstream and downstream partners, innovation and modern tea-making equipment. Currently, the production time of a cup of tea drink in CHAGEE is around 8 seconds.

CHAGEE also released a global brand film CHA, which shows the process of tea’s deep integration into cultures and lives around the world across borders and nationalities, showing people from different countries, ethnicities, and identity backgrounds raising their cups of modern oriental tea together. Zhang Junjie said that in the future, CHAGEE also plans to reach consumers in 100 countries and regions around the world, serving 15 billion cups of modern oriental tea every year.

On 17 May, CHAGEE also announced the launch of its new product of the year, ‘Mulan Milk Black Tea’ (万里木兰), which is a refreshing and low-calorie health drink made from high-quality black tea extracted from its origin. Previously, CHAGEE joined hands with Chinese tennis player Zheng Qinwen to promote a healthy lifestyle, responding to the trend of young consumers being more health conscious.

Therefore, the standardisation and stability of the supply chain, the cultural potential, coupled with satisfying the emotional value of customers; these strategies are the underpinnings of CHAGEE’s goal to becoming the Starbucks of the East.


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