Click for simplified Chinese version
Background image - Wan Ling Tea House Chinese text

Shanghai and Tea: A timeline


Key events and dates:

1842 Shanghai included as one of the five treaty ports stipulated in the Treaty of Nanjing opening Shanghai's port harbour to British trade.

1851First Tea house opened after the creation of Treaty Port, 'Li Shui Tai', a place for high society and literary class.

1860 - 1880 New tea houses emerge along roads near the Bund; tea house market becomes competitive and tea houses begin to offer food and entertainment in order to attract custom.

1896 First movie screened in China is shown at the Xu Yuan tea house in Shanghai.

1900 Estimated 60 tea houses established and in operation in Shanghai.

1919 Tea houses now numbered over 160; more than 10 tea houses alone located near the ground of Yu Gardens.

1927 Lu Xun, writer, essayist, and caustic critic of the Republican Government, moves to Shanghai, regularly visiting tea houses in the district of Hongkou, meeting and discussing with, amongst others, Mao Dun, Qu Qiu Bai, Ding Ling.Tea houses in the International Settlement become the de facto meeting points for revolutionaries and activists.

1930s Popularity of Western-style tea houses increases as Shanghai develops into a cosmopolitan city.

1940 In a sign of the importance of Shanghai to tea (and tea to Shanghai), more than 50 different tea factories operating in the district of Zhabei, where tea is processed and packaged for export.


Read more about Shanghai and Tea.

1. Brief Introduction

2. Shanghai Emerges from Aftermath of Opium War.

3. Emergence of the teahouse in Shanghai

4. Speaking Tea - a function of tea houses in Shanghai.

5. Early 20th Century Tea houses.

6. Afternoon tea and Cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 30s.

7. Teahouses in Contemporary Shanghai


Back To Tea Articles

Bookmark and Share
Find us on Facebook