In Southeast Asia (particularly China) a growing sector of the population is seeing increasing prosperity and economic opportunity. This also holds true for the floral industry. Guido de Wit is Programme Director for Royal FloraHolland’s strategic activities in China. We asked him how he views new opportunity in China.
What opportunities are there ?
“Consumers are able to spend more money than their parents could, creating new market opportunities, especially in China where markets develop rapidly. Young, prosperous urbanites seek to revitalize their lifestyle. They are highly reliant on the Internet, more than anywhere else in the world, specifically in their use of smartphones. To scope out the digital future, go to China.
China has always been a gift market, especially for flowers like large bud roses. There are gift occasions every month. New special gift days (Valentine’s Day, I-love-you-day) have gained popularity at a quick pace.
These youngsters have started buying flowers for themselves. Thanks to floral subscriptions available on their smartphones, they buy fresh flowers every week. Roses, summer flowers and Proteas are popular but the Chinese also like variety.”
What is the role of Royal FloraHolland here and what is the role of its customers?
“China has huge potential and markets develop quickly. It has specific needs because of the Chinese online presence. The market should be developed step-by-step. The demand is huge but the Chinese lack knowledge and infrastructure.
Royal FloraHolland is helping create a producer to end consumer chain. With local participants, we develop local infrastructure so the product reaches its consumers in peak quality. This goes beyond the traditional trade approach but our aim is to make this infrastructure available for our sales partners. By tackling developments together, we and our partners can develop and service a substantial part of this market.
At the moment we are developing trade flows from the Netherlands, Africa and Israel to the larger Chinese metropoles. With Chinese logistic partners we have developed depots in several parts of the country. Our trade partners have developed an assortment, suited for large Chinese e-commerce customers. We also help facilitate customers in imports and logistics, thus enlarging their market prospects. Our knowledge is used to improve the proficiency of Chinese e-commerce companies. All this is done to improve the quality level of products reaching the end consumer.”
What role is there for international producers?
“The Chinese need a wide assortment which they don’t have and which is difficult to grow there. This provides excellent opportunity for producers who can grow large quantities of good quality flowers and who have the logistical power (with the help of Royal FloraHolland, if needed) to get these flowers delivered to Chinese customers.
Larger retailers entering the flower market will of course offer certain accommodations to the larger producers.”
How do the Chinese view Royal FloraHolland’s activities?
For the Chinese, the Netherlands is a highly-developed flower country with a storied history. It gives us and the people we work with a high benchmark. At Chinese trade shows we get a high volume of visitors and tens of thousands of florists looking online to follow the latest trends. Chinese are hungry for knowledge and quality. They are keen on learning from us.
Since local flowers are mostly of poorer quality, and better quality is less available, there are excellent prospects for imported flowers. The continuity that Royal FloraHolland can offer with its growers, chain approach and background can help entrepreneurs in the floral industry benefit from these opportunities .”