China: "Succulents here in Shandong account for 60% of the national market"

Because of the cute postures, colorful colors, and various shapes, coupled with the relatively simple maintenance methods, succulents have gradually become the new favorite on the office desk. However, many fans may not know that most of the succulents on the desks come from Qingzhou, Shandong. According to statistics, the number of succulent plants in Qingzhou exceeds 800 million, and sales account for about 60% of the total sales in China. In other words, for every 10 succulents sold nationwide, 6 of them are from Qingzhou. What are the unique advantages of Qingzhou in developing a succulent industry? How did the local flower industry, represented by succulents, leverage the new momentum of economic development?

30% of farmers in the village plant succulents, sell 15 million pots a year
On July 12, local villager Li Tiankun was managing and maintaining the succulents in the greenhouse. In the greenhouse, rows of succulents are neatly planted in square plastic grids. The fleshy leaves, small body shapes, and bright colors are full of cuteness. "This is Yulu. Its leaves are crystal clear and transparent like jade. It prefers shades and damp environments; the pink one is called Taodan, which sells best in the market now," Li Tiankun said.

According to his introduction, the reason why he grows succulents is that he was driven by his cousin, who was the first college student in the village to return to his hometown to start a business. In 2010, his cousin met exhibitors from Japan and South Korea at the Shanghai World Expo who brought succulents to the exhibition. He negotiated cooperation with them and began to introduce succulents to Qingzhou.

In the following two or three years, the earliest succulent growers in the town gradually began to grow succulents on a larger scale. At that time, the northern succulent market had not yet formed, but in the south, the succulent sold like wildfire, so most of their products were supplied to some southern enterprises and online e-commerce companies. "At that time, there were few growers in the market, and the profit margin was relatively large. When I planted potted flowers such as cyclamen and radish, the output per hectare was 750,000 to 900,000 RMB. But the output of succulents per hectare was 6-8 times than others. If a new variety was developed and the price was set as several thousand or even over 10000 RMB, anyway there will be someone paying for it. The most expensive one could sell for tens of thousands. "Li Tiankun said.

Li Hongjun, deputy secretary of the Party branch of Luli Village, stated that Luli Village is a specialized flower production village in Qingzhou. It has been growing flowers for more than 40 years. It is one of the earliest villages in Qingzhou that developed the flower industry. 80% of the villagers in the village are engaged in flower production and sales-related industries. Seeing high market demand, high-profit margins, and labor-saving, other local flower farmers quickly began to plant succulents. Now, one-third of the 260 households in the village are planting succulents. On average, each household has two greenhouses, and one greenhouse can hold 100,000 pots of succulents. It is conservatively estimated that the village can sell 15 million pots of succulents a year.

Deep industrial foundation
Qingzhou has always had a tradition of planting flowers. As soon as succulents entered the Chinese market, they immediately attracted the attention of Qingzhou floral growers. With the more and more varieties and the continuous expansion of the e-commerce market, the succulent market in Qingzhou has risen rapidly.

At present, Qingzhou is not only China's succulent planting center and trading center but also a gathering center of seed resources. The stock of Qingzhou Succulents has reached 800 million plants, accounting for more than 60% of the national market share.

Around 2010, the domestic market for succulents soared. Why did Qingzhou alone seize the trend of industrial development? This is related to Qingzhou's deep potted flower industry foundation. Qingzhou is a trading center, distribution center, and logistics gathering place for potted flowers in China. With the overall driving role of this large industry, the succulent industry can flourish.

Under the continuous guidance of the local government, the potted flower industry in Qingzhou has formed a complete industrial chain from seed research and development to planting to sales, forming an industrial cycle.

In addition, the development of Qingzhou's succulent industry is also inseparable from the good local climatic conditions and the improvement of farmers' cultivation techniques. Especially in recent years, Qingzhou's modern agriculture has developed rapidly. It has been upgraded from traditional greenhouses to IoT greenhouses and artificial intelligence greenhouses. The planting conditions are gradually upgraded and updated, and the quality of succulents has been improved, thus gaining a certain influence and reputation in the country.

Enhancing the competitiveness of the industry
With the rapid expansion of the planting area of ​​succulents and the increasingly fierce market competition, the profit margin of succulents is gradually shrinking. "Now the sales volume has not decreased, but the profit is much lower. Around 2013, a pot could sell for 10 RMB or 15 RMB, but now it only sells for 2 RMB, the overall price gap is relatively large. However, it can still make money." Li Tiankun said.

Cao Wenjing, the person in charge of Qingzhou Tianlong Flower Co., Ltd., has the same feeling. Her company has 14 succulent greenhouses, and its products are sold all over the country, and some of the succulents are also sold abroad. She believes that some previously popular succulent varieties are becoming more and more common, and many buyers will lose interest. Therefore, new succulent varieties must be continuously introduced and cultivated. "Consumers now have higher requirements for the color, shape, and appearance of succulents. This is also a new challenge for us. In the future, we will pay more attention to introducing new products and pushing more boutique products." Cao Wenjing said.

It is understood that in recent years, the production and breeding of succulents have developed extremely rapidly. The company has actively carried out the hybrid selection and breeding of succulents, introducing and cultivating more than 1,600 new varieties of succulents.

In addition to cultivating new species, some succulent planting companies also pay great attention to increasing the added value of their products. Cao Wenjing said that succulents can be combined into a variety of handicrafts. "Wedding bouquets can be combined with succulents, and small ornaments on the wall can also be decorated with succulents."

Annual revenue of succulents reaching 50 million RMB
The reporter learned that with the rise of mobile live broadcast platforms, more and more flower farmers and companies have kept up with the new trend of live streaming to conduct succulent sales.

Located in the AK Succulent Flower Base on Huanglou Street, Qingzhou City, there are more than 300 types of succulent plants. The daily sales volume reaches thousands of orders. In peak seasons, it can sell tens of thousands of orders per day. Online live broadcast sales account for more than 90% of total sales.

According to Liu Jin, the live streamer of the Flower Base, they have 8 live streamers to do online sales. Most of them are "post-90s" and "post-00s". At present, they mainly sell through live broadcast platforms such as Kuaishou. 74% of the customer base is female, and the age of the customer base is mainly between 25 and 35 years old. He said that doing e-commerce in the succulent flower-producing areas has unique advantages. There are many varieties and large reserves, which not only reduces costs but also increases the added value of products.

According to the introduction, they first started with the WeChat business. Around 2015, they started operating Taobao stores. Because the entire succulent industry was in the leading position at that time, their annual sales could reach about 50 million RMB. With the increasing market demand and the increase in the types of succulents on sale, they began to switch from purely online to online and offline integration and began to rent sites to develop their own planting bases around 2016. Now, their planting area is about 2 hectares, and a complete service system of succulent planting, maintenance, shipping, sales, and after-sales has been formed.

In Qingzhou, there are many e-commerce companies like AK Succulents. At present, there are more than 630 professional e-commerce companies in Qingzhou's flower industry, almost all of which are involved in the sale of succulents. The e-commerce transaction volume of succulent plants reached 2.6 billion RMB. Qingzhou has also planned the China Flower Expo Park and the China Flower Live Streaming E-commerce Industrial Park, gathering many succulent e-commerce companies in a 40,000-square-meter live broadcast industrial park, realizing industry clustering, logistics clustering, brand clustering, and the entire chain of succulent clusters.


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