Chencun Flower World
2009.05.18

The characteristic economy of a place is often gilt with special color. 

While asked about the brand products of Shunde, a volunteer of the Flower Expo, after mentioning Kelon, Rongsheng, Midea, Macro, Galanz, she, unexpectedly, counted on her fingers the potted oranges and orchids of Chencun Town, the chrysanthemums in Lunjiao Town, the bonsais in the towns of Daliang and Ronggui and the peach blossoms in Leliu Town. She believed that these famous flower brands are now big names both home and abroad.

Words from the folk are often extremely vivid and directed to the essence.  Pointing at the vast stretches of the flower and tree farms and the container trucks loading flowers on the highway, the volunteer, a local primary school teacher, smiled, “We call it ‘green economy’.”

What a Big “Village”!
According to Feng Runsheng, secretary of the Shunde Municipal Party Committee and mayor of Shunde district, the most common question they met when they were bidding for the Flower Expo was: How big a village is Chencun, Shunde (the character “cun” in Chencun literally means ‘small village’ in Chinese)?

Feng said humorously, “Chencun is a world village of flowers.” This sentence contains two implications: one refers to the Flower World in the town and the other is the lowland effect exerted on the flower industry home and abroad by Chencun with its history and reality of this industry.
The history of growing flowers in Chencun can be traced back to the Yuanding Era of the Han Dynasty (116B.C.~111B.C.), making its cultivation technology top South China. Even the two-thousand year vicissitudes could not change the orchid gardens on top of the buildings and the scriptures of flowers on the desks in the town, even though the typical sight of farmers carrying their flowers to the markets has already been replaced by the container trucks transporting flowers to and fro on the highway by the late 20th century..

In 1998, Chencun built the Flower World which may fairly claim to be the carrier of the industry and established a platform for developing the industry and attracting resources. At present, it boasts of over 2,000 large-scaled industrial enterprises and about 300 flower traders home and abroad, including most of the famous flower enterprises in Chinese mainland, quite a few magnates from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as big flower dealers from countries and regions such as Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Korea, Australia, America, etc. It can be seen here not only the biggest flower trading market in China but also a bridge for Chinese flowers to enter world market.

The words from the following two people will tell us how big a “village” Chencun has been. Cui Baolian, General Manager of the South Korean Village of Flower World said, “In South Korea, 80% of our florists know that there is a Chencun in China. In our market, 90% of the Chinese orchids come from Chencun Flower World. Cen Qiquan, chairman of Hongda Gardening said: “It may give you a big surprise if I tell you the import and export volume of flowers and tress in recent year that our Chencun people gained by flying to and from Europe. From Chencun, people can have a basic appreciation of the resource advantages of the green economy of Shunde district.

What a Green City!
Although Chencun has a large-scaled flower industry, it is only a miniature of the green industry of Shunde. In the district, the growing area of flowers totaled 2,758 ha., covering over 3,000 domestic and foreign varieties. Last year, the sales amounted to 732.48 million yuan. Among the over 50,000 florists and flower dealers, Shunde people have taken half of the number. 
Walking over Shunde, you can see green everywhere. What’s more, this kind of green is fostered through management whose object is not only the ecological resources but also, as Shunde people see it, industrial resources. 
How to promote with resources? Shude does it in this way: establishing flower industry development zones like establishing the industrial ones and building up flower industry project library as what’s done to attract industrial foreign investment, thus attracting large companies, groups and firms to invest in the flower industry in the district and solving issues such as shortage of capital, technology and personnel by enhancing foreign orientation of the industry. In this way, the market can be opened by giving out resources, technology can be gained through opening the market, capital can be acquired by allowing profits, mechanism becomes flexible with a transfer of operation and management to enterprises and the production volume can be increased by offering stocks.   
With promotion of the industry, how to display the distinctive features? Shunde attains this goal by localization and adjustment of the structure of different varieties. For example, with the support of the government, a group of domestic and foreign enterprises including Shunde Meiyuan Garden, Mingzhixing Company, Qimei Flower Tissue Culture Company, Jieteng Gardening and the Professor Company have developed a series of domesticated moth orchid, dancing-doll orchid, cymbidium hybridum, guaria morada and others, some of which have a price over 10 times higher than the like products. Currently, four large flower production zones have been formed in Shunde: the 1,467 ha. flower bases with the Flower World as the lead radiating to the whole town of Chencun; the Beijiao production zone supported by the 800 ha. flowers and nursery stocks in the three large agricultural production units in Beijiao Town; the 200 ha. production zone with Licun and Shiban of Lunjiao Town as the center; the Leliu production zone with Lianshe of Leliu Town as the center radiating towards the surrounding areas. What’s more, the Shunde flower corridor by the Fochen Road, Baichen Road, Bigui Road, Longzhou Road and the 105 national highway has linked almost all the towns of the whole district like a belt.
In this way, those non-functional consumption goods – flowers and nursery stocks – are shaped into great green economy by the Shunde people.

What a thriving meeting!
When the green economy is basically in place, the next step would be to promote continuous development relying on the green economy and to integrate more advantageous resources on top of the green concept. How to accomplish this link? The Shunde people do it in a very simple way: holding meetings.
The concept of meeting in Shunde has been lifted to a considerable high. They are not conferences but conventions and exhibitions. This kind of conventions and exhibitions is beyond the level of “government setting up the stage and enterprises putting in the show” and has been endowed with the function of a development platform for industries by Shunde people who are good at “holding meetings”. Their household appliances, furniture, machinery, electronic products expos take as the theme the construction of a global trading platform, combining exhibition, seminar and order-placing meeting into one while gathering the manufacturer, spare parts dealer and distributors. The most prominent feature of its conventions and exhibitions is that they drive industrial growth by resting firmly on industries which have grown strong or have developed specialties locally.
Shunde holds no meeting without benefits. The executive committee of the Flower Expo and leaders of the district disclosed proudly to the reporters that this grand expo would provide three benefits for Shunde: first, cultivate the city through the concept of green economy. A city needs cultivation. Shunde, by making use of the Flower Expo and through large-scaled investment in municipal construction, will be able to advance the city from urban and rural integration to the fast lane of urbanization at the two years anniversary when it put forward the resolution to take the lead in basically realizing modernization, and at the same time, foster the local tradition of flower consumption.   
Secondly, promote the leading role of local flower industry in the great circulation of industries. Flower World is the largest production base in Guangdong Province and the largest flower trading center in China. Therefore, the Flower Expo to be held here will surly have a clear understanding of the real demand of the industry and be a significant driving force for business. It’s certain that its high degree of specialization will bring generous profits for domestic and foreign exhibitors and solve the problem of keeping the flower market running and making it enter into international market. 
Then, release the vitality of green economy and drive the development of other industries through the flower industry. Ou Guangyuan, member of the Standing Committee of Guangdong Provincial Party Committee, deputy vice-governor of Guangdong Province said to our reporters in one interview and emphasized that this Flower Expo is also a great chance for integration of many kinds of advantageous resources in Shunde. The furniture, household appliances and other industries of the district will be linked together by one theme – “Flower and Life”, displaying the charms of their brands on the same stage. It is learned that the holding of the Flower Expo has brought about an increase of 5.5 times in the trading volume of commercial residential buildings in Chencun alone in Shunde district. A property for sale near the expo had a sales volume of over 1.2 billion yuan in the first half of the year. The expo is not yet opened, however, visitors to the Flower World have totaled several thousands every day. It is expected that the total number of visitors during the expo will exceed one million. This huge tourism product has well attracted over 30 travel agencies who give their glad eyes to the organizing committee of the Flower Expo frequently.
Thus, the meaning of the Flower Expo lies not only in its attracting unprecedentedly 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China, Taiwan as well as tycoons in the flower industry from 15 foreign countries, but also in the exposure of business opportunities brought about by the green economy with long-term influence

What a long dream!

Shunde has been having the green economy dream for a long long time. For the florists who grow flowers for generations, this is a dream of “king of flowers”; for those decision-makers, this is especially a dream of industrialization by adjusting and optimizing agricultural structure.

In fact, according to statistics from Bureau of Planning and Statistics of Shunde, the ratio of primary, secondary and tertiary industries is 9:55:39 in the GDP of the district. Agriculture has only a small share in these three pillar industries while flower is just a project in agriculture. Then, why would people place flower industry at the same height as household appliances and furniture industries? One vice-governor explained that the flower industry in Shunde has far-reaching significance in boosting the industrialized structure and management of agriculture.

The agricultural industrialization starts with regional readjustment, promotion of share-holding cooperative system in rural areas and improvement of rural land contract system. Flexible land contract system has cleared the way for developing high-yield, high-quality and high-return agriculture. Good florists can bid for their favored land with their own strengths to enhance the scale and vitality of flower production. At the same time, under the positive guidance of the government, the smart Shunde people, whose minds act upon that of the government, soon embark on the road towards specialization and enlarged scale through intensive financing, technology and management.
A group of simple numbers explains the issue: last year, the sales volume of flowers per 1/15 ha. averaged 17,703 yuan in Shunde, three times higher than that of other crops. The agricultural mode “mulberry bank fish pond” in Shunde was taken as a research project by the United Nations. And the rising “flower bank fish pond” and “fruit tree bank fish pond” in recent years have further benefited the farmers. Once the agricultural structure is optimized, it would be easy to solve the issues concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers.
 Green economy is the main support for the “flower dragon project” in Shunde. With their active assistances in policy, finance, technology and information, a great number of enterprises have come to the fore, such as Shunfeng Gardening, Xinglong Flowers and Trees, Professor Company and Seven Luck Nurseries, leading many florists to take the path of industrialization. For example, the Xinglong Flowers and Trees Company run by Liang Qitang, a Top-ten Outstanding Youth of Shunde owns a flower farm of about 90 ha., however, it is only sufficient to meet 50% of its business volume. By adopting the “company and farmer” production and marketing model, while helping 215 florists get rich, no only the contradiction between production and marketing but also the sales problem of products of retail florists is settled.
The dream of agricultural industrialization of Shunde can not be completely fulfilled by one Flower Expo. A florist millionaire shook his head and told the reporter, “This is nothing. There are quite a lot successful florists in Chencun. My business will have much greater development in the future.” And according to leaders in Shunde, they, after the expo, will further invest 500 million yuan to renovate the 20,000 ha. fish ponds and their banks. At that time, a standardized and modernized pattern of flower farms will further add a strong green stroke to the economy of Shunde.