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E-commerce revives Asia’s largest flower market from poor Spring Festival sales


Dounan Flower Market in Kunming, Yunnan, which covers 74 acres, is Asia's largest cut-flower market and a major supplier of flowers in China. From here, 80% of the flowers grown in China are traded and exported to over 50 countries and regions

But this year, traders at Dounan Flower Market were unhappy that sales during Lunar New Year were worse than before the epidemic. Many are hoping that the resumption of e-trading on Feb.15 may be a turnaround.

Sales at Dounan market are divided into retail and wholesale hours, attracting thousands of traders every day.

Qin Cuiyun, 54, earned 100 yuan after standing in the cold wind for six hours. Her flower baskets sold for around 20 yuan, which meant she only made two to three yuan on each one.

“Flowers always sell better during LunarNew Year, but the business this year is worse than before,” said Qin. “After the pandemic, more people came, but fewer people purchased. People are spending less nowadays because of  the financial situation and the rise of e-commerce, ”she added.

Qin Cuiyun has been selling flowers at Dounan Market for two years.

Zhang Junzheng, 48, the largest tulip and lily retailer in Dounan, said the sales during the Lunar New Year holiday this year have been much worse than before the epidemic, and he had a loss this year.

“It's hard to sell flowers this year even though they are cheap because there are more retailers but fewer customers this year,” said Zhang.

Zhang Junzheng has over a million tulips at his stall this year.

Zhang has been working in flower retail in Dounan since 2000 and has been growing tulips for more than 10 years.

Faced with competition from e-commerce, Zhang opened an online shop but the prices there are less competitive. “The online platform allows poor quality tulip varieties to sell well through vigorous low-price promotions, which makes it more difficult for me to sell high-quality products”, he said.

Fu Wuyin, 63, has been a vendor at Dounan market for 26 years. His son, Fu Haifeng, sells flowers via live video streaming on Douyin every day after bidding to buy flowers from the Dounan Flora Electronic Trading Center.

Fu Wuyin fixes flowers that are leftover from his son's e-commerce platform sales.

“We have been losing money during the epidemic over the past few years, but luckily, my son is selling flowers through e-commerce. It maintains the stability of our family's business”, Fu Wuyin said.

Fresh cut flower auction starts in the afternoon, using an auction mechanism that ranges prices from high to low.

Hu Junnan is a Deputy Department Manager of Dounan Agricultural Products Auction Co. He has been working at Dounan Flower Electronic Trading Center for nearly ten years and said there are new business opportunities in e-commerce.

“The epidemic had little impact on our e-auction transactions,” Hu said, "Overall, the transaction rate this year is just fine. The auction market during the New Year ended trading at around 3 am, and usually it doesn't end until 5 to 6 am."

Liu Shuoji, 68, who has been bidding for flowers over the past eight years, stocked up 10,000 fresh-cut flowers with 2300 yuan this afternoon at DFETC and was about to transport them into Henan Province overnight.

“It's a pain to stock up when there's no online trading, but now things have changed,” said Liu “The work I do now is better than just selling flowers.”

Wang Long, an employee who worked for seven years at DFETC said online transactions boost flower sales.

Wang Long says the order volume would increase after Lunar New Year when logistics resume and the heavy snow ends in some northern cities.

Wang Long says the order volume would increase after Lunar New Year when logistics resume and the heavy snow ends in some northern cities.


《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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