COLOMBO, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's black and green tea exports to China has risen sharply so far this year with Chinese youth acquiring a taste for Sri Lanka's popular Ceylon tea, Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Lucille Wijewardena said here Wednesday.
In an interview with local media EconomyNext, Wijewardena said that in the first quarter of this year, almost 2.8 million kg of Ceylon tea were exported to China, up 210,300 kg or 8.2 percent from a year ago.
"These numbers are huge. And this is a great opportunity for our industry as we are now open to a market with the highest population in the world," Wijewardena said.
Wijewardena attributed the surge in tea exports to China mainly to Chinese youth developing a liking for consuming black tea with milk.
China was the seventh highest export market for "Ceylon tea" in March this year, ahead of other key markets like Syria, Germany and Japan.
He added that Sri Lankan tea carries a premium quality image, which attracts higher demand and global recognition.
Sri Lanka's Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said in February that a mega global campaign would be launched this year to promote Ceylon Tea in order to boost the island's tea exports.
The global campaign will first start off in China and then in Russia, Germany, Ukraine and Japan.
Sri Lanka earned an estimated 1.43 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 through its tea exports.
Dissanayake said that with a better year expected for the tea industry, the government was targeting a revenue of 1.60 billion U.S. dollars from its tea exports in 2019.