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Coffee fest hopes to fuel Shanghai's cultural industries

A Shanghai resident buys coffee.[Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Shanghai, the city with the most coffee houses in China, opened a two-week-long coffee culture festival on Thursday.

Organized by the Shanghai Cultural and Creative Industry Promotion Association and the Shanghai Food Association, the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week will run to Aug 18 and feature a variety of themed activities.

Data from domestic tech and retail giant Meituan showed that Shanghai was home to 7,857 cafes as of June 30, ranking first among cities in China. The central Huangpu district has the highest density of coffee shops, with 38.5 per square kilometer.

Wang Yayuan, deputy head of the municipality's publicity department, said at a news conference for the event that coffee culture has prospered in Shanghai and become an important "window" for residents and tourists to experience a high-quality life and local culture.

The festival is designed to explore coffee's cultural connotations and the city's unique characteristics, advancing the development of cultural and innovation industries, Wang said.

On the event's opening day, the homegrown coffee brand Manner Coffee offered free Americanos to residents, and food delivery platform Eleme provided 30,000 cups of free coffee on Friday.

Customers can get special offers at hundreds of coffee shops across the city during the festival, according to organizers.

In addition to coffee promotions, Shanghai's Modern Food Vocational Skill Training Center will provide free courses to disabled people who aspire to be baristas.

From Aug 13-14, the city's landmark Bund Finance Center will host a batch of coffee-related activities including performances and fairs of cultural products.

The top 100 cafes in Shanghai will be unveiled at a special event named "Night of Coffee". The event will also include a ceremony to celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Barista Championship.

An array of cultural and educational sites are to participate in the festival with the aim of popularizing coffee culture.

A coffee-themed exhibition is being held by the Books and Periodicals Distribution Association of China from Aug 4-18, covering 75 bookstores around the city.

The Shanghai Grand Theatre will host a literary salon focusing on coffee culture, while the Shanghai Museum will launch coffee-related environmental activities during the festival.

Shanghai leads the country in terms of coffee consumption, according to statistics from CBNData, a research arm of the media group Yicai. It is estimated that each resident in Shanghai drinks an average of 20 cups of coffee a year. The national average is only 6.2.

A legion of coffee chains were born in the city such as M Stand, Nowwa Coffee and Seesaw. Founded in 2019, Nowwa Coffee has opened more than 1,500 stores nationwide.

Shanghai is making efforts to boost the coffee industry and build itself into an international center of the coffee trade, organizers said at a news conference.

Based on the Hongqiao International Coffee Hub in Minhang district, the city plans to set up a coffee foreign trade service platform as well as a coffee trade alliance in the near future, organizers said.

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