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Snapshot: Yunnan's annual flower expo wraps up in Kunming

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Professionals from all parts of the Chinese floral supply chain congregated in Kunming from July 13 to 15. The gathered exhibitors and visitors were attending the Kunming International Flower Expo (KIFE), along with several concurrent events, including the China Floriculture Retail Forum and the China Home Gardening Expo.

This was the nineteenth installment of KIFE, and longtime attendees say the show has been gathering steam in recent years. This year's version of KIFE and the Home Gardening Expo occupied a sprawling 30,000 square meters of exhibition space and featured 339 exhibitors. Kunming — the capital city of Yunnan province — is the home of China's flower industry and accounts for the majority of the nation's cut flower output.

Consequently, many of the exhibitors were Yunnan-based. The industry is undergoing a big push to modernize production techniques and introduce new varieties to catch up with China's growing and increasingly sophisticated consumer market, meaning a wide range of flowers, including many proprietary varieties, were on display from Yunnan growers.

Most of the foreign-owned flower producers with farms in Yunnan — including Anthura, Van den Berg, De Ruiter and Hasfarm — attended. This year also saw increased participation from international cut flower traders, both foreign exporters and China-based importers. Another presence that was impossible to ignore was the growing number of e-commerce companies, especially business-to-business online flower procurement platforms like 24 Flower.

Also exhibiting was leading Chinese logistics and express delivery firm SF Express, which was a sponsor of the show. SF has recently rolled out a dedicated refrigerated trucking line from Kunming to Guangzhou and other cities in southern China, and more lines covering other areas of China are expected to be rolled out later this year.

There were also over a thousand flower shop owners in attendance at the show, thanks to the China Floriculture Retail Forum being held concurrently. Alongside KIFE there were numerous forums on topics ranging from intellectual property protection in China, to cold-chain logistics. Additionally, related tours and events were held at Kunming's Dounan International Flower Market Distribution Center and the Kunming International Flora Auction Center.

The show and the wide range of activities gave the visitors in attendance from around the world a truly comprehensive impression of the size and explosive growth of Yunnan's flower industry. Last year, Yunnan growers sold 11 billion stems of fresh cut flowers. Capitalizing on industry growth, KIFE and its related events are held in hopes of further bolstering a Yunnan flower sector that generated revenue worth 50.3 billion yuan (US$7.5 billion) in 2017.

Editor's note: This text was adapted and republished with permission from Produce Report, a trade media platform for fresh produce and other agricultural products in China. They can be found by searching WeChat official account 'guojiguoshu'.

Images: MZ Marketing Communications

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