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Imports wilt local flower market   2009-06-16 - Viet Nam News

The domestic flower industry is struggling against up to 40 per cent reduced demand in the first four months of the year and increased competition from imported flowers.

The domestic flower market, especially in northern regions, could not compete with some imported flowers because their strange beauty had important novelty value.

The domestic flower market, especially in northern regions, could not compete with some imported flowers because their strange beauty had important novelty value, flower traders said.

Flowers imported from foreign countries, such as Holland and Australia, were often more expensive but they had interesting colours and shapes and could remain fresh for two weeks.

Flowers imported from Viet Nam's biggest competitor, China, were cheap and they could stay fresh for days.

HCM City flower trader Pham Huu Phuc said after a study trip to northern markets that he was surprised at the low price and high quality of flowers imported from China.

Chinese competition

"The shelf life of Chinese flowers is two or three times longer than Vietnamese flowers and the price is so cheap. This surprised me," Phuc said.

Nevertheless, some flower traders are looking at new ideas and markets.

Lang Biang Farm in Da Lat city has found new hybrid flower varieties and has many export orders from foreign countries.

Also in Da Lat city, Nguyen Van Sau, director of Thanh Quang company, said local orchids could not compete with Chinese ones because of the latters' low price, high quality and numerous colours.

So his company had changed tack. In the past the company's products were grown to serve export markets. Now in the recession, they were focused on the domestic market and the price of orchids was cut by six times to serve domestic consumers.

Other companies had considered e-commerce as a way to get out of the crisis, choosing high-end consumers as key clients.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Vu, director of World of Flower Joint Stock Company in HCM City, said the number of individuals who ordered e-flowers had reduced, leaving mostly companies.

Many companies were resorting to discounting to attract customers. Companies have also set up websites so customers can order on line. Many accept payment through Mastercard, Visa and ATM.

Also some companies have co-ordinated with many small companies to open branches in provinces and cities.



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