Yunnan black tea, or Dianhong tea, is a legendary local tea product in Fengqing county of Lincang city in the southwest of Yunnan province. As old as the brand of Dianhong tea, Fengqing once stood as a vital station on the Ancient Tea and Horse trail which is a centuries-old trade route linking Yunnan, Tibet, and the SE and S Asia nations.
In autumn of 1938, major China’s black tea producing areas were occupied by the Japanese military. As an important export for earning foreign exchanges to support the War against Japan's invasion, Mr Feng Shaoqiu (1900-1987)-a tea expert of the former China Tea Trade Company Limited-was dispatched to Yunnan to develop a new producing base. Through arduous inspection and investigation, Mr Feng found the top-quality teas among those freshly picked in Fengqing county; he tried to take his chance and succeeded in making black tea at a stroke. He then named it "Dianhong Tea"—which is Yunnan black tea.
(The statue of Feng Shaoqiu)
In 1938, the first batch of Dianhong tea products were re-exported to the UK via Hong Kong with the highest price of 800 pennies per pound; and the fame of "Dianhong tea" began to go viral around the world. When the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, Dianhong Tea was honoured as a "national gift of China", and Fengqing became one of the exporters of Chinese black tea.
In 1986, during her stay in Kunming, Queen Elizabeth II was presented Dianhong tea as a gift from Yunnan provincial government.
So far, Fengqing has planted over 0.3 million mu (20,000 hectares) of teas, rising from less than 30,000 mu (2,000 hectares) in the 1940s, with an annual final tea output of about 10,000 tonnes--of which 70% are black tea. And 84% of its total population (0.45 mn) has been involved in the tea industry.