Tulips are blossoming in China


You may have never seen this flower before, but these colorful plants are called tulips. It’s the most popular flower in the Netherlands and is also one of the most important export products. You can find tulips everywhere in the Netherlands. Not to forget to mention the famous ‘’Keukenhof’’, the most beautiful flower garden in the world. Keukenhof receives 1 million visitors from more than 100 countries each year. The park consists of 32 hectares where you can observe more than 7 million flowers such as lilies, hyacinths and of course tulips.

Here in this article, you will read more about China’s policy regarding the export of Dutch tulips, in addition, you will also find more information on how to market these flowers to Chinese consumers.

 Flower market and its main competitors


Russia, Germany and the United States are the main buyers in the worldwide flower market, while the Netherlands remains the center of the floral industry. However, the demand for tulips and other horticultural products is developing dramatically in China, according to the Global Floricultural News organization.

Although China isn’t a big competitor yet, it has definitely the potential to become one. You need to keep in mind that China is a huge nation with a population of more than 1 billion citizens. With that, the purchasing power of this country is gigantic and the possibilities for your business are endless.

 The export of Dutch flowers

Field of flowers

Despite the relatively small share of agriculture and horticulture in its overall economy, the Netherlands is one of the largest agricultural exporters in the world. More than 60% of the Dutch soil is in agricultural use and an important part of it is taken by the cultivation of flower bulbs, especially tulips.

The tulip has been the most exported flower bulb with a share of 33% for years. In 2014, more than 2 billion tulips were exported worldwide. After the tulip, the lily is the most exported flower bulb with 1.1 billion lilies worldwide. But that’s still no match for the tulip bulbs. As mentioned earlier, tulip bulbs are one of the most important export products of the Netherlands.

Dutch export protocol

You might ask, why are we only talking about Dutch tulips? What makes them so special and why aren’t we talking about tulips from other countries?

A protocol for the export of flower bulbs between the Netherlands and China came into force in October 2010. The Protocol applies not only to the export of tulips but also to other kinds of flowers like lilies, that are grown in the Netherlands.

China has expressly reported that the Netherlands is the only EU country that can export flower bulbs to China. There is an import ban on flower bulbs from all other EU Member States. Direct export from other EU Member States, or re-export via the Netherlands, to China is not allowed. In other words, the Netherlands has a great advantage in the Chinese horticulture market compared to other countries.

Flower business, how to market in China

Working table

To market in China, you will need to have a clear strategy to approach your target audience. Following this paragraph, you will find 3 business ideas to promote your flower business in China. Of course, there are more but these are the basics you’ll first need.

First, I highly recommend you, create a trustworthy image for your company. A business that has a good image or reputation is more likely to do very well in the long run. In addition, a memorable logo is very helpful to draw the attention of your target audience and lingers on in their memory. As an example, you can look at all the brands, that has made it globally. They have won the trust and loyalty of their customers, hence why they are so successful.

Secondly, a communication tool your flower business should have is a website, especially in China. Today, we live in a society where everyone has access to the internet 24/7. A website is a very cost-effective solution to reach a large audience. And do not forget that people can order flowers online as well.

And lastly, if you are going to take your flower business to China, you will need to be active on social media. I am not talking about Twitter, Facebook, or WhatsApp. In China, it’s all about WeChat. It’s the best platform to update people about your new floral prices, exciting offers, or special events. Your social media page should always have the right balance between interesting text and nice visuals such as pictures and videos.

Creative approach: Dutch study case ‘Fleurop’


You can also opt for a creative business strategy. For instance, the Dutch company ‘Fleurop’ has got in my opinion a very original strategy. The Dutch name Fleurop itself can be translated into being happy and is also a wordplay because fleur means flower. From this company, you can buy a flower bouquet for your boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. and you can have them delivered to their home or workplace, especially on Valentine’s day.

You might say, this isn’t creative at all. Well here comes the innovative part, the same company that founded Fleurop has also founded another company called ‘Pleurop’ which sounds similar to Fleurop but has an entirely different meaning, which is fuck off. From Pleurop you can buy a bouquet of wilted flowers and have them delivered to an ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, or someone you really hate.

With this strategy Fleurop cannot only get rid of their wilted flowers, but they are also able to make money out of it. It’s downright genius.

To conclude, don’t hesitate to take your flower business to China. The Chinese market will definitely challenge you, but in all honesty, every market in the world is challenging. If you are willing to make an effort for your business, it will pave your way to success.

Need help to blossom your flower business? Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a specialist in marketing to China. Feel free to contact us.

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