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Filip Evenepoel, Kunming Anthura:

"China, a fast-developing market"

Anthura is a breeder and young plant producer of Anthurium and orchids. The company's head office, R&D center, and breeding facilities are located in the Netherlands. There are also production facilities in China, the Netherlands, Germany, and northern Macedonia.

Since 2006, Anthura has had a branch in China, where in addition to producing young plants, the company also sells its products to customers in China and surrounding countries. Kunming Anthura is located near Kunming, the city of eternal spring. "Clearly, the reason for choosing this region in China was the climate," says Filip Evenepoel, General Manager Kunming Anthura.

Unique show greenhouse in China
Besides the greenhouse complex and a modern tissue culture laboratory, Anthura also has a separate greenhouse facility where both commercial and future varieties are shown in their different pot sizes and presentations. A unique feature of this show greenhouse in China is that all varieties can be seen flowering year-round. These include more than 200 different varieties! The show greenhouse allows growers to make more informed variety choices when visiting, and the trade and florists can get inspiration and learn about the possibilities of our products.

Another important function of this location is knowledge sharing by providing training to our customers. Providing cultivation-related technical support to Anthura's customers is an important part of the company's activities. "Everything is focused on successful cultivation with our customers," explains Filip.


Plant breeders' rights
"We also engage in protecting plant breeders' rights in relation to our varieties. The fact is that, in China, our varieties are copied in large numbers. Our varieties are protected by plant breeders' rights, including in China.

Illegal propagation has a huge negative impact on our business and that of our customers. To further develop the market together with our customers, enforcement of plant breeders' rights is very important. There is also an important role for the Chinese government in this respect," Filip points out.

Anthura has a long-standing relationship with customers in China. Back in the 1990s, they supplied young Anthurium plants to growers in China. In the beginning, this was mainly cut Anthuriums; later on, potted plant varieties became more important. Today, Anthura's Anthurium varieties have become indispensable in the Chinese market.

Filip: "A few years ago, we also started introducing our Phalaenopsis varieties. Here too, we supply growers who already grow Phalaenopsis. Traditional Phalaenopsis cultivation is quite different from Europe's cultivation system, but one similarity is becoming very clear: the market is moving towards plants with multiple flower branches on a plant. It's a process that has already taken place elsewhere in the world, and that's where we can make a difference with our varieties, our genetics."

Consumer purchases
Filip continues: "What is interesting is the emerging consumption of plants for personal use. By tradition, pot plants are important to the Chinese, and with the arrival of new shapes and colors, in both Anthurium and Phalaenopsis in the small pot sizes, consumers can be well served."

Unlike the Netherlands, which has numerous outlets where you can buy flowers and plants, this is less developed in China. On the other hand, online purchases are much more advanced in China than anywhere else in the world. "That's a huge opportunity for flower and plant consumption," Filip adds.

The reality here is that confidence in purchasing a living product is not very high. As a result, people are cautious, and this is reflected in pricing.

Long shelf life
Filip explains that the plants' shelf life is an important feature: "Our product groups have a very long shelf life. Also, as breeders, we know which varieties perform strongly in those specific logistics of online sales, where handling is often rough, and temperature fluctuations can be significant. We are also working on concepts that improve the convenience and maintenance of plants with consumers. We also demonstrate this in our show greenhouse.

We are happy to engage with interested parties to develop this further so that consumers ultimately receive a high-quality, reliable, easy-maintenance product delivered by our customers. Convenience, quality, and shelf life assurance are huge opportunities for our products!"

A fully updated WeChat Corporate Account has been developed especially for China, packed with information about Anthura and its products. An important part of this WeChat page is the section where we share a lot of cultivation information. New articles are added to our Corporate Account on a weekly basis and sometimes several times a week. "We invite everyone to visit the page and start following us," Filip adds.

Filip concludes: "Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have a major impact in China, we are seeing an increase in the consumption of flowers and plants. This provides tremendous assurance for the future of the market that we, together with our customers, will certainly continue to develop! We face the future with confidence!" 

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