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Guizhou's Meitan: Serving tea offline to online

By Faisal Kidwai (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-09-09 09:33 Comments

Guizhou's Meitan: Serving tea offline to online

A demonstration shows how tea leaves are stirred after they are plucked in the plantation area in Meitan county, Guizhou province, Sept 8, 2016. [Photo taken by Faisal Kidwai]

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If you are in a coffee growing area you are likely to see a photo of coffee beans splashed on a billboard. Same is true if you are in a banana producing region. Just about every country or town finds a way to promote its best product.

So, how do you announce that you grow some of the finest teas in the world? Well, you build a huge tea pot, that's how.

Meitan county, situated in southwestern China's Guizhou province, packs a lot of punch when it comes to tea.

With a population of 500,000, its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 was 7 billion yuan ($1.05 billion), according to Mou Wei, Secretary of Meitan County Party Committee.

He told chinadaily.com.cn that while the whole province is famous for producing some of the finest teas, Meitan leads the pack in a green tea brand and in a black tea brand.

Established during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the county has had a long association with tea.

This bond becomes apparent as soon as the tea plantations start. The sight of green rolling hills, the women in the middle of them in their white hats, and the beautiful long leaves will leave anybody mesmerized.

What makes the cup even sweeter is the economic benefit. Where once the residents of Meitan were struggling to make ends meet, they now have disposable incoming reaching into thousands.

And having tasted success they now want to spread the aroma of their teas to other parts of the country. Although slow in adopting e-commerce, the enterprising businessmen are determined to make it up in lost time.

From selling their products online to attending trade related expos to inviting tourists, tea planters are exploring all avenues to boost their revenues.

But it's not just tea that Meitan serves in abundance. It's yet undiscovered natural beauty hits the senses as powerfully as the strongest brew.

Its awe-inspiring mountains, its greenery and its multi-colored houses make the county nestled in the northern region of the province a place worth discovering.

In case that's not your cup of tea, then visiting the huge tea pot in the center of the county should be.

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