Rooibos: For the young it’s new and for the old, it’s healthy !
Le Rooibos cherche sa place sur le marché chinois. ”Nous démarrons sur ce marché”, souligne Clara Liu, représentante de Rooibos en Chine, Hong Kong et Taïwan.
At the Shanghai SIAL 2009, that took place from May 19th to 21st, South Africa had 230 m2 with 11 South African companies presenting products ranging from wines, to cereals, dry foods, juices, teas and Rooibos. Clara Liu, senior consultant at SavoSavi in Shanghai, represents Rooibos in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. She explains to CommodAfrica all the marketing potential of this South African specialty on the Chinese market.
Is it mostly the young generation that could go for Rooibos in China ?
I think it is not specific to Rooibos. It’s just that the young generation was born at the time China was opening up. So they get more information and they go on Internet. So the young generation compared to the old generation is very different. The attitude towards life, work, etc. can be very different. They are more open to new things. And Rooibos is a new thing. Older people have their habits and it is always hard to change your habits.
However, Rooibos is attractive for older generation because often they cannot drink too much caffeine so Rooibos is good for them. It all depends how you position your product.
What is the price of Rooibos on the Chinese market ?
Right now, it is too early to talk about pricing. We are at an early stage : we have not had large quantity of imports yet. Also, there are import duties that will make the big difference. For tea, the import duty is 15% plus 13% VAT, so it adds up to a bit more than 28%.
Right now, we import tiny volumes, probably less than one container.
Do you want to make it a gourmet item or more of a large public product?
It depends on the cost base. If the cost is high, than you have to put it on a premium market. But if the cost is reasonable and the import duty is not too high, than it is very suitable for large market.
But there are actual benefits or values linked to Rooibos : it’s a healthy drink, a specialty drink, so it can be positioned as a special type of drink.
The price of Rooibos should be roughly the same as an average Chinese tea price. But, again, it depends on the import duty.
Are you going to develop green Rooibos just for the Chinese market ?
Green Rooibos can be found in the US : it is not particularly designed for the Chinese market. It is just the trend today for green tea. You can find it in Europe. Green tea is popular worldwide. Also the process technology allows it.
We are still testing the Chinese market so there are no specific products being yet developed for this specific market. Rooibos is a perfect product. It can be blended with everything. So it opens many opportunities. We could mix it with specific Chinese herbs.
Where else in Asia can Rooibos be developed?
Throughout Asia, I think Japan and Korea could be the two largest markets.