Meet Founder of Lockcha – Mr. Wing-chi Ip
Subtle Connection with Chinese Tea Blossomed 30+ Years back
As early as the 1980s, Mr. Ip assisted Mr. Lo Kwee Seong, the founder of a Hong Kong beverage behemoth Vitasoy Group, and the Hong Kong government in establishing the world’s inaugural tea museum and advocating Chinese Yixing teapots. This move motivated the Chinese government in debuting the “Yixing Pottery” pavilion at the Asia Arts Festival near those days, enhancing Yixing teapots’ market perception from handicraft to collectible and then to must-have items for tea enthusiasts. Yixing teapots had earned their world-class reputation since then.
Mr. Ip met his torchbearer, also known as his employee, when he was still unknowledgeable about teaism in his early days. This staff came from Anxi province of China while his family lived by planting Chinese tea trees. One day, this employee brought Mr. Ip to his hometown where Mr. Ip was captivated the moment he stepped on the tea hill. Apart from appreciating the magnificent mountain scenery, Mr. Ip was deeply impressed by the tea farmers’ dedication to producing tea. In retrospect, he found the elemental tea-processing procedures the tea farmers followed through intriguing. From planting, harvesting, screening leaves, shaking leaves, fermentation, fixation to packaging, every single step was performed manually where timing, place, and people should fall into place. After putting in a hard day’s work, Mr. Ip received a cup of freshly brewed hot tea from a tea farmer. This tea smelled light yet aromatic. It not only was delectable but also instantly made him feel connected with nature. This visit no wonder opened Mr. Ip’s eyes, planting the seed of teaism deep in his mind.
“Truly admiring tea farmers’ dedication to processing tea”
Uncovering New Markets for Small Tea Farmers since Late 1980s
In the late 1980s, Mr. Ip travelled across China to conduct in-depth investigations and inspections of tea-producing areas in the country. Truly impressed by the hard work and superb skills of small-and-medium-sized tea farmers, Mr. Ip wrote magazine articles to depict the Chinese tea industry and complement small tea farmers’ exquisite craftsmanship. He also introduced their tea products to Hong Kong, opening up an unprecedented sales channel and opportunities for small tea farmers. Mr. Ip’s move was widely covered by a multitude of foreign media, catching the attention of tea lovers from all over the world. This move also set off an upsurge in purchasing tea from independent tea farmers, and that helped foster such a product’s development moving forward.
The Birth of Lockcha
Mr. Ip founded LockCha in Hong Kong in 1991 and has been going all out to share with people the joy of appreciating good tea since then. Meanwhile, he suggested the Hong Kong government set up a tea house within the Hong Kong Tea Museum with the aim of embarking locals and tourists on an adventurous tea journey.
Mr. Wing-chi Ip’s Profession and Positions
- Bachelor of Economics, Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Master of Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong
- UC Davis Global Tea Initiative Commitee Member
- Guest Professor, Department of Tea Culture, Zhejiang Shuren University of China
- Teaism Instructor, Chinese Civilization Centre, City University of Hong Kong
- Teaism Instructor, Student Exchange Program, Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Tea Association Founder and Chairman
- Curator and Convenor, Chinese Teaism and Culture, Jao Tsung I Academy
- Originator, Director, and Chief Supervisor, World Tea Union
- Executive Director, China Tea Science Society
- Consultant, Fujian Tea Culture Association of China
- Consultant, Yunnan Pu’er Association of China
- Consultant, International Tea Culture Exchange Association of Hong Kong
- Consultant, Xiamen International Tea Fair of China
- Consultant, Hong Kong International Tea Fair
- Members of the Jury, Tea Assessment, Hong Kong International Tea Fair