The recent World Ornamental Horticulture Summit that AIPH held with our partners in Beijing brought home even more emphatically that this is both an industry and a market that cannot be ignored.
Statistics and examples from Alibaba help put it in perspective. The website sells 25 million different products through 400,000 florist shops. It is addressing all the usual concerns that come with internet retailing of plants and it is developing a new logistics platform that will ensure home delivery within 7-8 hours of ordering in Tier 1 and other major Chinese cities.
In one bulb promotion one seller sold his full stock of 3800 packs in just one minute. The online retailer hosted a show in Hangzhou for its retailers to promote products and concepts this year. The amazing displays created were promoted through social media, with the support of the critical ‘key opinion leaders’ and the images and videos reached 480 million people!
Another mis-conception is that it is easy to think that the market is really just for indoor or balcony plants. It is true that most of the urban population live in apartments and only a small percentage of people have gardens. However, a small percentage of a very big number is still a big number so the market for garden plants and the scope for garden centres is also huge.
The demand for quality product in China is rising and a number of importers shared examples of how they are supplying the Chinese flower market from abroad, with a focus on quality and creativity. For the first time we also observed a significant shift in the attitude and approach to intellectual property. The government is making big strides in implementing the protection of plant breeders rights. Respect for this system has dramatically increased. This gives greater security for foreign breeders but, perhaps more significantly, it is paving the way for when China will release their own varieties and will rely on the system too.
The high level and number of attendees at this summit highlighted the importance of this industry at this time. I also had the privilege of speaking at the Closing Ceremony of AIPH-approved Expo 2019 Beijing alongside Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. After six months 9.34 million visitors had experienced this 500 hectare horticultural expo face-to-face with millions more enjoying the frequent broadcasting on TV. China knows that horticulture matters for a healthy future; it is at the heart of their ‘ecological civilisations’ development concept.
Many industries are watching China closely and getting involved when they can. Horticulture should be no exception.