Our last day in China. We visit a nursery where workers are busy lifting apple tree seedlings. It’s done the Chinese way. But what they subsequently create, is truly artistic.
We’re still in Shandong, in Linyi to be more precise. I’d never heard of it before, despite the fact that it is yet another metropolis (11 million inhabitants!). There’s an entrepreneur in Linyi who found, or created if you like, the perfect market opportunity.
This Chinese entrepeneur grows hardly anything else than Malus (the only other thing we see among the many apple trees are a few old standard roses). On this winter day, the clayey soil is covered with a layer of snow, but there’s plenty of activity. Women are lifting and bunching the seedlings, while two men are busy welding. They’re making racks in all sorts of interesting shapes. The plants are threaded through the racks. The result is something like a Malus vase, made of around 30 plants.
The business is doing so well that the owner can’t meet the demand. His background is in a different field, he won’t say which one, but we do find out that he owns a hotel. One of the floors houses his office. That’s where he shows us, picture after picture and video after video, how beautiful his Malus trees look when they flower in springtime.
I immediately receive a few images of his flowering pieces of art on my WeChat. Smartphones and WeChat are incredibly popular in China for sharing all sorts of things and for video calling. I haven’t seen anyone read a newspaper here. Everyone, yes, even the older people, is constantly busy with their smartphone and with WeChat.
And then, it’s time to go to the airport. From Linyi to Shanghai, and then on to Schiphol. My study trip around China has come to an end. One thing is for sure: China has seen some big changes since I was there ten years ago. A dramatic increase in buildings and infrastructure. And there’s more greenery. Some entrepreneurs managed to benefit from the growth too.
It still isn’t easy to enter the country though, and once you’re in China, it isn’t easy to travel around either. You really need a translator and/or tour guide, as many Chinese people don’t speak any foreign languages. You’ve got to know your way around. There are many roads to China. And through China. I was able to travel some of those roads thanks to the Dutch-Chinese team of EWD-Compass, a company that assists entrepreneurs from various sectors who are interested in doing business in China.
Read more about the new China in Floribusiness soon. But first: return to the Netherlands and process all the great impressions from this trip.