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Creative Way to Export Taiwan Flowers


Phalaenopsis international reputation, even the king knows the British With 70% of Taiwan flowers being exported, Taiwan farmers face a very hard battle in fierce competition with other exporting countries. But they have made quite an achievement, especially in exporting Phalaenopsis orchids. At present half of Phalaenopsis orchids in the world are produced in Taiwan.

“ Information collecting is very important for international marketing,” said Mr. Kun-feng Kuo, international marketing section chief, the Council of Agriculture (COA). “Collecting information helps us to understand both ourselves and our competitors, grasp ongoing industry developments, and formulate appropriate strategies.”

According to information being collected in recent years, Kuo believed that Netherlands is still Taiwan’s strongest competitor in the race of exporting Phalaenopsis orchids, while several Asian countries including Vietnam, Malaysia and China pose a serious threat to Taiwan in exporting other flowers because they ask for lower prices and have cheap labor and land. But the Asian countries’ technology is still far inferior to Taiwan for the moment.

Taiwan must have an international marketing strategy to cope with such competition and the strategy must be formulated by teamwork. For instance, Taiwan has the advantage over Netherlands in penetrating the U.S. market with Phalaenopsis orchids. Although Netherlands is catching up quickly, but in negotiations Taiwan has persuaded America to permit imports of orchids with medium, which greatly helps Taiwan to export Phalaenopsis orchids.

The medium used by Taiwan Phalaenopsis orchids has been aquatic plants and the orchids were exported with bare roots by airfreight when medium was banned from U.S.-imported orchids, but Phalaenopsis orchids being exported to America can be delivered by shipping now with medium. In the past, transportation accounted for 60% of the cost when airfreight was required, now shipping has lowered the ratio to 15%. And exported orchids with medium have stronger vitality and longer and better flowering, further enhancing Taiwan orchids’ competitiveness in the world market.

Do flower show is to make the world understand Taiwan, the most direct way to flower. Sponsoring flower exhibitions abroad is the most direct way for the outside world to know Taiwan flowers, but there are tricks of the trade. “When holding some exhibitions about cut flowers, we will send invitations to local teachers of floral art and florists. Because all teachers have many students and you can be certain that the students will use flowers to their teachers’ liking,” said Kuo.

He added that “we also hold some floral art activities for professionals to participate” and teach them to use Taiwan flowers to make beautiful arrangements in vase or landscape layouts as well as keep flowers fresh longer, which can become one of their selling points when teaching students.

Market development also requires hard thinking. For example, using trucks to deliver flowers to European buyers gives Netherlands a big advantage over suppliers in other continents because the latter’s exports by either airfreight or shipping will cost more and takes longer time to arrive at destination.

Although Taiwan cannot win in direct competition with Netherlands, it can cooperate with some Dutch traders in penetrating European markets indirectly. The more popular mode in recent years has been “production in relays” in which Taiwan farmers cultivate seedlings first and then ship the seedlings for European partners to carry out the second-phase cultivation. And Taiwan also has many partners of such cooperation in the U.S. market.

In fact, more and more importance has been attached to the MIT (made in Taiwan) brand in recent years and the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has gradually received more invitations for Taiwan to participate in foreign flower exhibitions provides the concrete proof. Taiwan has been invited to take part in not only commercial expositions but also some special exhibitions like Chelsea Flower Show in which even Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom knew those beautiful Phalaenopsis orchids on display came from Taiwan. This alone has achieved the desired effect for the MIT brand.