Now I'm glad I asked first.
I have no clue what you're getting at...
I suppose I should say that I don't have conversations with Guang or Irene about business climate. I do observe the site and the blog closely, because I am actually interested in Hou De, essentially as a business story. Moreover, I read all the old livejournal and teadisc posts back when Guang was posting more often. I try to reconstruct how they think and intend to profit from wares and methods. More nerd than stalker, if you get me.
As far as the whole scrounge thing, over the last two years, the Mainland have been vacuuming up tea out of Taiwan, where some of our tea merchants stop for aged puerh. This has been a noted phenomenon particularly on taiwanese blogs, which, with the magic of Google Translate, I read on a regular basis. You can even see this sentiment in a recent post by Nada.
Lastly, individuals, such as you, or TomVerlain, can go overseas and sample/shop/buy lovely teas. It works in the nonprofit sense primarily because you are actually there to sample, and you can comfortably buy any number of fairly anon sheng/shu, and maybe even drag out a decent Dayi at non-extortionate prices at some hole in the wall. For a teashop, the wares are one thing. The marketing is entirely another. Puerh in the West is driven by a symbiotic relationship teashops and teablogs, whether their own, or someone independent like The Half Dipper. It's one thing to buy a Dayi 8582. It's quite another to buy a CNNP 8582, made by god-knows-who. When Nada sells something like that, he has to go the extra mile in selling the tea via words, via samples, and via the reputation that Nada wouldn't sell you anything bad. Not only all of that, but peeps have to get *enough* tea to make this all worthwhile, and that means relationships (and politics) with people who has alot of any one tea. Of course, this can get people in hot water, like that '03 Bulang Boutique HouDe sells, because insiders decided to be hinky without telling anyone else.
Anyways, if you don't believe me, why not check out GenerationTea, Sunsing, The Chinese Tea Shop, or any of the other places that sells alot of that "whatever" kind of aged tea? What kind of turnover do you see? When I look at The Chinese Tea Shop, what I see, is that as with HouDe, they've added primarily teas from around '05 since I first became aware of that site. Chinese places that sold to the West have, even including Yunnan Sourcing, virtually stopped adding anything older than '03. Not Dragon Teahouse. Not Red Lantern. New Changtai from '05, but no new Dayi sheng from older than '05, even though there is most definitly a lust for aged tea in the West. I take it that it's actually *hard* to find aged tea to stock in your shop at a profit. Sampletea.com was the only major splash in awhile, man...
I do think that people who like to drool over aged tea might enjoy the vendor sections of tea-area.com. Lots of cool stuff in the storefronts there, assuming non-fakes.