Neo-Nie: A Man Who Changed the Color, Essence, and Taste of Tea


More often than not, many of us waste a huge amount of time constantly searching for shortcuts to business success or climb high on the corporate ladder. However, the actual way to success is that one should know how to push the limitations in order to pursue the passion and goal. As we push our limitations to taste the fruit of success, it becomes an interesting and inspiring story for everyone around us. Neo-Nie, a successful entrepreneur, is such a person who pushed his limitations and achieved his dreams.

Neo-Nie opened a small milk teashop in the city of Jiangmen in 2012when Consumers have been searching for alternatives to traditional brews. That time, Neo-Nie appeared like a savior of taste buds and brought in gently brewed cheese tea. The cheese tea has proved a hit with China’s younger generation. The only reason that the cheese tea took off to a higher plane because Neo-Nie understood the pulse of his consumers.

While many traditional organizations spend a huge sum of money on advertising to promote their brand in the positive light, a Chinese beverage start-up provides high-quality tea all over the world so that numerous people wait in queue for hours to buy. It goes to the extent that some customers had to wait for as long as 7 hours just to buy a 25-yuan cup of tea.

The unique advantage of Heytea

. For a long time, the milk tea industry has been using powder so heavily that it has scared many consumers away. Although there is nothing illegal with using powder, no one today would want to consume so much powder. When things are like that, the Neo-Nie understood the consumers’ needs and brought the solution. Their attention turned to foam tea (he didn’t invent the foam tea—but he made it better). He saw the foam tea as a potential breakthrough to rejuvenate the tea industry and decided to replace the powder with real ingredients such as milk and cheese that would be more appealing to consumers.

Expanding Foothold

With backing from investors including China’s IDG Capital and Meituan Dianping’s investment arm LongZhu, Neo-Nie’s Heytea has expanded across the country. According to the company, it now operates 170 teashops in 26 Chinese cities, with each store selling an average of 2,000 cups on a daily basis. Neo-Nie is also expanding abroad and has opened in November 2018 Heytea’s first store in Singapore.

The professional laboratory is set up in Shenzhen headquarters, dedicated to tea drink product conception, formulation research, and sample manufacture. After opening a store inside Shanghai Disneyland recently, Heytea plans to open 100 new stores in the Chinese mainland as well as outlets in Singapore and Hong Kong. The brand also plans to expand its footprint to include the European and US markets in the near future.

Today, there are more than 100 Heytea branches across 13 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

“Heytea aims to open as many stores overseas as Starbucks [has on the mainland] as I am confident of our product quality and prices,” says Neo-Nie, CEO.

Consumers’ Satisfaction

The only thing that Heytea wants to share with customers is the authentic taste of the tea. To provide high-quality tea to consumers, the company’s R&D team pays much attention to product research and development, adhere to the independent product research.

The reason why young people are not fond of tea is because of the slight bitterness found in the tea. But Heytea is not like that. Heytea balances the bitterness with the creamy and smooth cheese foam. That’s why everyone including young people are attracted to Heytea. Not only that, the sweet aftertaste of the tea makes up for the short finish many dairy products have on the plate.

“I never want to be just selling stuff. Selling doesn’t create value. Instead, I want to create things that ideally leave an impact on the world. It has to be a cause that is worth devoting my youth to,” says Neo-Nie.

Future Hopes

As the industry is growing much faster than any brand or company, it creates a kind of feeling that the game has yet to even begin. Neo-Nie believes that Heytea can be more than a drink or a brand.

He considers Heytea as a cultural symbol and a namecard that says China’s 1000-year-old tea culture can be young and fun.

“My confidence doesn’t come from Heytea or myself, but the nation’s tea tradition that has been around for thousands of years. Any certain type of tea can be outdated. But tea itself will not,” says Neo-Nie.

It’s time for China to have the right cup of tea.