Twenty years ago, the farmers around Yunnan's Dianchi Lake mostly grew vegetables for sale in local village markets.
On the eastern shore of the lake, the Dounan area of Kunming, now the site of the world's second-largest flower market, was then a small village.
The region has a great climate for growing flowers, but there was no way for the farmers to get these higher-valued but quickly perishable products to markets in the big cities of China, not to speak of foreign markets.
Over the last decade, a big investment in infrastructure in this far southwestern province has enabled many farmers to roughly double their incomes by switching to flowers. And many entrepreneurs have been able to build flower-related businesses－thus transforming their lives and giving new opportunities to their employees.
The Dounan Flower Market has both a traditional flower market and an electronic auction business. During the night, the hall is full of wholesalers arranging sales to large buyers in China and overseas. In the daytime, small farmers come in to sell to local Kunming buyers.
About 500 people work for the flower market company itself and there are around 3,000 independent traders in the market each day. In 2018, the auction business carried out transactions worth 200 million yuan, according to Zhu Yongmeng, manager of the Dounan Flower Market.