A bubble tea shop opened for business in the bustling Soho area of London on Friday, offering tourists and the British public another chance to experience the authentic Taiwanese drink, also known as pearl milk tea (珍珠奶茶).
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the grand opening of Chatime’s first outlet in the UK, which was attended by Taiwan’s representative to the UK Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) and Harry Liang (梁秋生), chairman of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in England.
Chatime, a Taiwan-based tea store chain, now has 737 outlets in 52 cities in 15 countries around the world, including the US, Australia, China, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, said Wang Yiao-huei (王耀輝), chairman of the La Kaffa International Co, which owns Chatime.
London is the best location to start a business in the European market, Wang said, outlining his firm’s plan to open more outlets in the UK before expanding to other European countries including Germany and France.
Shen said he is delighted to see the Taiwanese business can help introduce Taiwan’s tea-related drinks to the cosmopolitan city, which he described as a place where culture, tourism and business converge, especially in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympic Games that start next Friday. From equipment to ingredients like tapioca balls — bubble tea’s most vital component — almost all the elements at Chatime’s store in Soho were imported from Taiwan, Wang said.
News of the shop opening confirms the beverage’s popularity with banker-turned-businessman Assad Khan opening a bubble tea shop in the British capital in April last year. Before the launch of his “Bubbleology” brand the drink was largely sold in Chinatown.