The thirst for bubble tea has sparked a business surge in London, with a string of new outlets selling the fruit and milk-based drinks.

Companies and entrepreneurs are competing for prime sites in Soho as the craze spreads to the UK from Asia.

Bubble tea — a flavoured drink containing chewy tapioca balls — was first sold in Taiwan in the 1980s but has gradually grown in popularity around the world.

“It is a craze in London now with four bubble tea shops opening recently in Shaftesbury Avenue alone,” said Morris Greenberg, of property lease specialist Cedar Dean Gilmarc.

“The first bubble tea shops started in 2011 and have been a slow burner up until the last few months when it has suddenly burst into life and we now have companies aggressively competing for the best sites. These are firms that have seen huge potential in London and are willing to invest.

“It is also attracting entrepreneurs who can establish a distinctive brand and grow it quickly.”

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