Twenty grams of "Dahongpao," a black tea of unique quality, was sold for a record price of 180,000 yuan (about 21,700 US dollars) at an auction earlier this weekin Guangzhou, south China.
The tea was purchased by a local restaurant as a collector's item, said a spokesman for the restaurant.
"Dahongpao," considered as the "king of Chinese tea," is produced exclusively in Wuyishan City in Fujian Province. It was offered as a tribute or gift to imperial courts in ancient times.
Wuyishan City is located at the foot of Mount Wuyi, one of the country's most popular scenic sites. Tourism is thus the principleeconomic activity of this eastern Chinese city.
The auctioned tea was selected from three high-grade "Dahongpao" tea trees in the Mount Wuyi scenic area. The trees produce less than 1 kg of "Dahongpao" quality tea each year, said a local official from Wuyishan City.
According to the official, more "Dahongpao" trees are currentlybeing cultivated in Wuyishan through asexual reproduction techniques.
Tea is the most popular beverage in China, therefore the tea business has traditionally been lucrative and dynamic.
(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2002)