Opportunity In China
Over the past 30 years since the opening of markets in China, the flower industry has continued to develop. In recent years, the development has escalated to a point where almost every province is aggressively developing its flower industry niche. China’s 1.33 billion people want a better life, and some regions are closer to that dream than other areas.
Each area wants to be recognized as the largest in the country. Some areas like Yunnan province are best known for their cut flowers, and Guangdong province is best known for its tropical foliage. Each geographical area seems to have its strong points.
The rapid development of China’s economy is in the Yangtze River Delta consisting of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang areas. The population was 16,740,000, 74,380,000 and 46,770,000 in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, respectively, for a total of 137.8 million people in the region as reported in 2006. The population of these areas is vast, and the economic level is the highest in China. This means that the actual and average disposable income is the highest in China. The Yangtze River Delta has a GDP of about $2 trillion, and 21 percent of China’s GDP. The GDP of this region is almost the size of France.
The economy in the region is a result of the Yangtze River Delta having a long history of being the economic power of China. Shanghai is in the center of this triangle and is the largest city in China.
A Ground-Breaking Event
From October 20-23, the first Yangtze Delta International Flower Forum was held. The purpose of the flower forum was to increase the awareness of international flower developments and technology to Chinese companies. There were about 30 international visitors and 250 Chinese attending the forum. Sixteen speakers presented lectures and informed the attendees of international flower industry developments. International flower experts selected to participate were from the United States, Holland, Germany and Japan. In addition to the international speakers, Chinese speakers gave an overview of the flower situation in China and Yangtze River Delta.
A major part of the meeting was focused on flower use, marketing, new varieties, production technology and home gardening. The new direction for the Chinese flower industry will be home gardening. In the last 10 years the new homes and apartments that have been built are vast. Every major city has had untold development in the construction of new homes. The Chinese have purchased and have decorated their homes and many of these new homeowners will be looking at how to improve the beauty of their homes. Many feel it is time to focus on home gardening and some companies are interested in capturing this chance by designing home gardening systems, plants, containers, shops, supplies, educational materials and garden centers.
If you look at the empty balconies of these new homes in China today and visualize them being filled with plants and flowers, you can see the volume could be the greatest expansion in the use of flowers in the world. This is at a time when the developed world has reached a plateau, business has leveled off, and business is currently in a decline due to recent global economic conditions.
Companies in the U.S. and Canada would be wise to consider attending this show to expose themselves to the China Flower Industry. Because Shanghai is in the center of the Yangtze Delta, you will get a sense of the opportunities for expanding into China.
Each year, the largest horticultural exposition occurs in China. This event is always in April and rotates between Beijing and Shanghai. In 2009, the 11th Hortiflorexpo China will be in Shanghai April 1-4 and is considered a national exposition for the China flower industry. Hortiflorexpo started in 1998 and after 10 years, has developed larger and is more mature.
More To Look Forward To
The 2008 Olympic Games are complete, but the World Expo is coming to China and will be held and launched in Shanghai, in 2010. In order to better portray the theme of “A Better City and A Better Life,” the Chinese Central Government, Shanghai will fulfill the formidable task to present an entirely new appearance to Shanghai. Four new Shanghai city parks will be built entirely for World Expo, (World Expo Park, Hou Tan Park, Bai Lian Jin Park and Jiang Nan Park) and improvement projects for 104 blocks, avenues and streets in every district and town will be in great need of all kinds of plants, horticultural materials, machines, tools and facilities.
In China, there seems to be no end in sight to expansion and development in the flower industry. To investigate the China flower industry for yourself, attend the 11th Hortiflorexpo China from April 1-4. To set up a personal industry meeting, contact Hortiflorexpo via its website.
Berl Thomas is the former president and CEO of Speedling, Inc. and Twyford International, Inc. He has formed a new company, Thomas Seedling Technology Systems, which provides leadership in seedling and agricultural technology for growers worldwide–with emphasis on China. You can eMail him at [email protected].