In the South Western Province of Yunnan, the bustling Dounan Flower Market is the dispatch point for trucks laden to the brim with fresh flowers. Selling millions of fresh flowers and foliage from midnight until 4am, the trading is fast paced and 14 million stems are sold and start to make their way to destinations all across China and other parts of the globe. The trucks filled to the rafters with perfumed cargo block the roads in and around the city. But it wasn’t always like this – the market was turned in to a budding enterprise by local government in 1999. Since then, the flower market has bloomed and grown to become the biggest in China. Dounan flower market at Valentines will feed the Chinese nation with their supply of roses and flowers. Courting couples all over China are supplied with flowers, fuelled by the demand created from middle class nouveau riche.
Back in 1994, the area had just 133 hectares of flower farmland. The recent growth has left visitors in awe and inspired by its giant size. By 2013, there was a further 67,000 hectares of flower growth. Then came better air cargo links, this really has put china on the world map as far as flower production is concerned and China now has a quarter of its land devoted to growing flowers and plants. Wow! China accounts for 4% of the world’s trade in flower value and would probably be even larger but the freight costs are a barrier to growth in to Europe and America. As China adopts more Western tastes, the demand has been created in the domestic market at home for flowers like red roses. The red rose is not traditionally a symbol for love in China, but it has become the most commercially grown flower.
August 20th in China is the country’s own “lover’s day”, but Valentine’s Day surpasses this by far. According to the Kunming International Flower Auction, the price wholesale roses will double. This year the prices were high as Chinese New Year followed straight after Valentines Day, and was later followed on March 8th by International Women’s Day. It seems with this much buoyant trade this year, life for the florists and wholesalers at China’s largest flower market is a bed of roses.