China's e-commerce flower sector is blooming

Targeting the new generation of e-commerce customers, online flower retailers keep their clients engaged with new designs and ideas. Customers are also encouraged to share photos of their bouquets with friends via social networks.

Competition is fierce. Rose-Only, a Beijing-based startup founded in 2013, targets the high-end flower gifting market and sells rose bouquets from premium vendors. Another player, Beast, goes for high-end customers with lavishly decorated bouquets and packaging.

"Only when the roses meet the strict selection criteria can they be shipped to the factory for processing. Only one in every 100 is chosen," according to RoseOnly. The company has also introduced a variety of product lines such as rose jewelry, rose bears, musical balls and scented candles.

Shanghai-based startup Flowerplus provides regular flower delivery services directly to customers' homes. The company said it started to expand its offline channels at the beginning of this year. Its brick-and-mortar stores cover Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

During this year's Qixi Festival - also known as Chinese Valentine's Day, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month - customers living in Beijing and Shanghai could buy Flowerplus bouquets at Super Species, a fresh food store established by Chinese supermarket operator Yonghui.

Flowerplus said it will cooperate with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Hema Fresh food chain store and expand its presence in more cities through franchising in the second half of the year.

Read more at China Daily (Fan Feifei)

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