Trendy tea house brand creates a stir
Updated: 2015-08-19 11:16
By Tan Yingzi(China Daily)
Liao Weijia, founder of NenluTea, has big plans for the company after receiving a massive round of funding. [Photo/China Daily]
A chain founded by the daughter of China's "Hotpot Queen" is expanding nationwide after receiving 100 million yuan in funding
Liao Weijia, the daughter of China's "Hotpot Queen", is planning to expand her chic tea house chain with the help of one of the country's major e-commerce players
NenLvTea, meaning tender green tea, has already whetted customers' taste buds with its trendy Starbucks-style outlets in Southwest China.
Then last week, founder Liao announced she had received more than 100 million yuan ($15.59 million) in funding from Domking Holdings Ltd to help extend the brand's presence here and overseas.
"With Domking's resources and experience in chain store management and e-commerce, NenLvTea will get on a fast track to development," Liao said.
If the new investors are anything to go by, the expansion plans look certain to succeed.
Zhang Zetian, the newlywed wife of JD.com CEO Liu Qiangdong, is the main share holder of Domking. Zhang, 22, is also known as "Milk Tea Sister" in China after a photo of her holding a cup of milk tea went viral online in 2009. She married to Liu, the founder of China's e-shopping giant on Aug 8.
Domking's other major shareholder is Miao Qin, who was former COO of McDonald's in China and previously CEO of the buffet chain store Golden Jaguar. Miao and Liu both went to Shanghai's China Europe International Business School.
The tie-up with Liao, president of NenLvTea, will create an interesting business mix. She opened her first tea shop five years ago in Chongqing, known as the Hotpot City of China.
Liao is the only daughter of local "Hotpot Queen" He Yongzhi, the founder and president of the Little Swan hotpot chain of stores, where she is vice-president.
Established in 1982, Little Swan is one of the most successful hotpot chains in China and has more than 300 stores here and abroad.
Liao is now hoping to emulate her mother by taking NenLvTea nationally. She owns 10 branches with seven in Chongqing and three in Chengdu. Six new stores will open by February next year.
"We plan to have 60 tea houses by the end of 2017, reach 100 in three years and then go public," she said.
Liao also plans to sell tea products on JD.com. The two parties plan to sign an investment agreement later this month in Chongqing.