HANGZHOU, May 18 (Xinhua) -- China, the largest tea producer in the world, produced over 2.4 million tonnes of tea in 2016, 40 percent of all the tea grown in the world, Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu said Thursday.
Last year, 2.87 million hectares of land in China was used to grow tea, more than anywhere else in the world, Han said at the opening ceremony of the First China International Tea Expo in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province.
China is also the world's largest tea market with over 2 millon tonnes consumed in 2016, which is equal to the population of China consuming 1.5 kg of tea each.
Figures show over 2 billion people drink tea across the world. The over 60 countries and regions that grow tea produced 6 million tonnes of the leaves last year.
The expo, from May 18 to 21, is organized by the ministry and Zhejiang Government.
President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter Thursday to be read at the opening ceremony, extending his hope that the expo would give exposure to Chinese tea culture, and that the event would grow into an important platform for exchanges and cooperation between China and the rest of the world.
The letter also included a call for the expo to promote both the tea industry and tea culture.