The giant Chinese flower market aiming to be a blooming world wonder

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The giant Chinese flower market aiming to be a blooming world wonder

The Dounan Flower Market is the biggest in the country and sends blooms throughout the region. Photo: Yujing Liu US President Donald Trump (seen on Friday) has announced that he will ‘let ZTE reopen’ if it pays a fine and agrees to Commerce Department terms. Photo: Reuters Wang Zhongshan has been bidding daily at the Dounan Flower Market in southern China for six years but the auctions still get his heart racing. He is one of 600 buyers vying for a share of the 10 million blooms up for sale each day in this part of Yunnan province, with each lot decided in less than three seconds. The competition is intense in the smoke-filled auction room. “When prices rise, the whole hall is on fire,” Wang said. That’s because Dounan is the capital of China’s flower trade, an industry flourishing thanks to the country’s growing middle class and rising overseas demand. In just three decades, the town has expanded from a rural backwater into Asia’s biggest flower market, supplying over three-quarters of the country’s cut blooms and exporting throughout the region. It has ambitions to be the biggest player in the world but while it rivals major international exporter the Netherlands in terms of volume it still has one great leap forward to make to become a real global greenhouse powerhouse. For many in the business, the day starts early in the morning when thousands of tonnes of cut flowers, ranging from roses to carnations and Texas bluebells, are harvested from surrounding regions and trucked to the market. Wholesalers then work from noon until midnight examining the produce and striking deals. The blooms are boxed and sent on morning flights to customers and retailers around the country. Mao Haipeng, from the Yunnan Dounan Flower Industry Group, which runs the major physical markets in Dounan, said demand was so great that about 300,000 farmers were cultivating 1.5 million hectares of flowers in the province, up from just a few dozen growers and less than 10,000 hectares back in the 1990s. A large part of the growth is thanks to China’s expanding middle class, who increasingly see cut flowers as a part of daily life rather than luxuries reserved for special occasions. Mao said this was part of a natural shift as China’s economy developed and families started to have more disposable income for something that might have been seen as wasteful in the past. While some households still grew plants at home, more were switching to buying cut flowers for the freshness and variety, Mao said. “Flowers are becoming a necessity for Chinese families,” Mao said. The demand is being met by a thriving number of online florists, allowing people in big cities to order flowers with a few taps of their smartphone. Internet consulting firm iResearch estimates China’s cut-flower e-commerce market expanded from 1.2 billion yuan (US$188 million) in 2013 to 12.4 billion yuan last year and is likely to close in on 50 billion yuan by 2021. Around […]