It is possible for us to operate our lives and our businesses in a bubble sometimes.  All we see is that which we have always seen.  Good businesses are always on the look out for new opportunities while at the same time looking out for new threats.  But due to the nature of our product or our experience it is possible to be so focused on this that we don’t see the big changes that are happening.

The media is always telling us about the rapid economic growth taking place in a number of countries in Asia and around the world.  The scale of China always makes us look first at their numbers but the reality is that, according to OECD, average economic growth will continue at 6.2% until 2021 for the whole of South East Asia, including China.  A huge contrast to flat performance in the developed world.

This growth produces new generations of wealthy middle-classes and amounts of disposable income increase.  There are many reasons why people buy flowers and plants and it doesn’t automatically follow that more wealthy people will mean increased purchases of flowers.  But in many cases it could!  The next question is where those flowers and plants will come from.  Either they will be imported or grown in these same countries.  This relates not just to flowers because as these countries urbanise they are also leading the world in city greening and all this needs plants and therefore of course it needs growers too.

It is not a big stretch of the mind to consider that very soon developing countries will overtake traditional western flower and plant producing nations in terms of volume of production and sales.  Then the next step is to consider that these countries could overtake the west in terms of technical developments, production techniques and innovation.

Wherever you sit in the world today these changes will affect this industry everywhere.  The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) has identified these issues and on 26th September 2017 in Taichung, Chinese Taipei, we will hold a conference on ‘Ornamental Horticulture in South East Asia’.  It will include expert speakers from Indonesia, India, The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore as well as a presentation on our project to define an ‘international vision’ for the ornamental horticulture industry.  You are all welcome to join us as we evaluate this rapidly developing market and you can see more details at

Rachel Wakefield

Communications Executive and Associate Editor
United Kingdom