Chinese media outlet 36Kr learned on Wednesday that lemon tea brand Ningji has recently invested in Changsha-based local coffee brand RUU, and has become its wholly-owned parent company.
Ningji was established in February 2021 in the Chinese city of Changsha. It is mainly engaged in hand-made lemon tea with various flavors. At present, the brand has launched more than 10 products, with prices ranging from 16 yuan to 18 yuan ($2.37 – 2.67).
In less than one year, it has opened more than 300 stores in Changsha, Wuhan, Nanchang, Guizhou, and Hainan. It also has received several hundred million yuan in investment from ByteDance, Shunwei Capital and Tencent, and was once called the “dark horse” in the new tea industry.
Hunan Sanfa Catering Management Co., Ltd. is the operator of Ningji. On July 9, 2021, the company made changes to its official registration with China’s Industrial and Commercial Administration, showing that Beijing Quantum Jump Technology Co., Ltd., an affiliated company of ByteDance, was added as a shareholder with 10.53% of the shares. At the same time, the registered capital of Sanfa increased from 2 million yuan to 2,235,300 yuan.
The founding team members of RUU are mainly former employees of Starbucks and ByteDance. It is mainly engaged in direct operations, and the number of stores to be opened in June is expected to exceed five, mainly in Changsha, Hunan Province.