Gong Cha, the c1,500-strong global bubble tea brand, has appointed advisors to assist its UK expansion, with Manchester and other northern cities being targeted first, MCA understands.

Property consultancy AS Retail is seeking 300-1,200 sq ft units on high streets, shopping centres, transport hubs and office or university locations.

MCA understands Gong Cha England Outlets Limited is being led by a group of Australia-based, Malaysian-born operators, including managing director Tatt Ghee Saw.

Tatt Ghee Saw is the founder and chief executive of the ST Group, which operates a number of brands under license in Australia, including Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart, Gong Cha (New Zealand), experiential concept i-darts, NeNe fried chicekn, Malaysian sweets brand PappaRich, ramen concept Ippudo and Pafu apple tarts.

Andrew Shepherd, director at AS Retail commented: “We are delighted to have been instructed by Gong Cha to assist with their launch into the UK starting with Manchester and other Northern Powerhouse cities before embarking on a wider roll-out.”

Since it was established in 2006, Gong Cha has expanded to Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Macau, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.