It is May 20 today, or in short 520, and in Chinese, when pronouncing these numbers it sound like 'I love you.' Several years ago, Chinese eCommerce started to exploit this date to push online sales. And as it is a holiday to celebrate love, flowers cannot miss out. It has become an important day for the floral industry with international exporting companies taking advantage of this day.
Growing in the Chinese market
Also the Dutch export is benefiting. For Dutch flower exporter Holex, for example, the export to China has been growing for about 4 to 5 years now, despite the growth of the local production. According to Robin van de Vos and Ella Li, part of the Chinese Sales team of Holex, the local production is really local: the growers from the countryside supply the flowers for the people in the province. "In the large cities, however, the demand for imported flowers is high."
Specially for this day, Holex mainly sends tulips. "The tulip production season in China is more or less finished, that's why. But not only the tulip is a popular product, there is a good demand for flowers across the board, but for other types of cut flowers, particularly roses, the majority is directly shipped from Africa and South America."
COVID-19 disrupting the trade?
As in many countries, COVID-19 has severely impacted the demand for and sales of flowers in China. However, unlike in many other countries, trade was able to continue. While cargo from Kenya was and still is very expensive, the price of cargo to China did not increase that significantly. "There is enough cargo space as a lot of products are being exported from China to Europe." The international transport of passengers, however, hasn't picked up yet. Therefore, Van de Vos, who usually mans the office in China, is still in the Netherlands.
Third Valentine's Day
520 can be seen as the third Valentine's Day of the country, next to the Chinese Valentine's Day (July 7 on the Chinese calendar) that falls on Tuesday August 25 this year, and Western Valentine's Day (February 14).
Source pictures: LinkedIn Wancheng Li, CEO Yutong Global flower purchase company. (Visit his page for more pictures)