Flower expo in full blossom - Travel

The Century Pavilion of the 10th China Flower Expo is shaped like a giant butterfly.[Photo provided to China Daily]


The Century Pavilion of the 10th China Flower Expo is shaped like a giant butterfly.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Event drives development of area, spurring maturity of its environmentally friendly industries, Xing Yi and Cao Chen report in Shanghai.

After more than 1,000 days of preparation, the 10th China Flower Expo opened in Shanghai's Chongming Island on May 21.

At the expo's opening, Li Zheng, Party secretary of the Chongming district committee, said the expo reflects the significant progress that Chongming has made to improve its green development over the past two decades.

"Since Shanghai positioned Chongming as an ecological island in 2001, the people of Chongming have been dedicated to green development over the past 20 years," Li says.

Instead of attracting factories that offer quick solutions for profit, Chongming focused on restoring its natural environment and developing its eco-friendly agricultural, leisure and tourism industries with the aim of becoming a world-class ecological island by 2035.

These efforts have paid off. The island now has a forest coverage of 30 percent, and residents enjoy good air quality about 90 percent of the year. Moreover, clean energy constitutes 56 percent of electricity consumption on the island.

Known as the premier gardening themed event in China, the expo is held in central Chongming and comprises 180 outdoor gardens, 64 indoor exhibition zones and two service zones.

The giant butterfly-shaped Century Pavilion located in the northern part of the expo is designed to look as if it were flying toward Fuxing Pavilion, the permanent venue of the expo that sits in a peony shaped flower field. The Chinese word fuxing means rejuvenation.

This design reflects the "Blossom with the Chinese Dream" theme as this year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China.

Dongping National Forest Park makes up the southern part of the expo and is where visitors will find innovative flower designs created by 30 families in the Yangtze River Delta. This is the first time that works by the public are displayed at the expo.

This news comes from: China Daily

Shanghai's Chongming Island hosts the flower expo.[Photo by Xing Yi/China Daily]

At its first weekend, about 20,000 people visited the expo each day, where they admired more than 20,000 exhibits, including 1,000 types of new flowers.

Shi Mingfang, chairman of Bright Dairy and Food, says the group built its largest flower factory in Shanghai, a 76,000-square-meter smart greenhouse to store flowers for the expo.

Song Limin, the person in charge of the Henan provincial exhibition at Fuxing Pavilion, says they have brought in 500 bonsai and floral arrangements to compete for the gold medal at the expo's flower contest.

"We started to prepare the seeds last year and control the temperature to make the flowers blossom during the expo," she says.

The Yunnan provincial exhibition has set up a big screen connected to the Kunming International Flora Auction Trading Center, and people can see live auction deals made every few seconds.

The 8th China Flower Trade Fair is also held alongside the expo, with three sessions taking place from May 21-29, June 5-13 and June 19-27. About 400 horticulture companies from around the country are selling various flowers, seeds, plants, seedlings and gardening tools at the fair.

Fei Xuemei, general manager of Yunnan Holy Flora, says that sales of flowers are set to increase in China due to rising income levels of Chinese people.

"Flowers are high value-added agricultural products, and the flower industry contributes to the country's revitalization of the countryside," she says.

Jiang Zehui, president of the China Flower Association, says the planting area of flowers in the country to date stands at 1.5 million hectares and generates annual sales of over 250 billion yuan ($39.2 billion) and a net export volume of $622 million, making China one of the biggest flower producers and traders in the world.

Chongming has been promoting its flower retail industry since it won the right to host the flower expo three years ago.

This news comes from: China Daily

Visitors enjoy innovative flower designs by members of 30 families living in the Yangtze River Delta.[Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

By the end of last year, Chongming welcomed eight large flower companies that brought in combined investments of about 2.5 billion yuan. Planting area of commercial flowers on Chongming also reached 28,000 mu (1,865 hectares).

Li Cheng, president of the China Horticultural Society, says that though Shanghai cannot compete with Yunnan in terms of overall flower production, its location makes it an ideal source of plants and flowers as one of the richest regions in the country.

"Sitting in the Yangtze River Delta, Chongming's plants can be quickly transported and sold not only in Shanghai, but also Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces where the annual per capita income is ranked among the top five in the Chinese mainland," Li says. "Holding the flower expo will certainly boost Chongming's brand as a floral island."

Launched in Beijing in 1987, the expo has been promoting the development of the flower retail industry in China. The expo venue is rotated among Chinese cities every four years.

"The expo has been a platform for flower exchanges and cooperation, driving the development of the entire industrial chain, including flower research and development, processing and logistics," says Liu Dongsheng, deputy director of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

The spillover effect of the flower expo has also spurred an upgrade of Chongming's tourism sector. Hundreds of guesthouses and farm stays have opened over the past three years in anticipation of the massive influx of expo visitors.

"The expo lets more people know Chongming, and it boosts the already hot minsu business on the island," says Liu Qing, owner of guesthouse Zhigu 1984 and president of the Chongming Minsu Association. Minsu refers to Chinese styled bed-and-breakfast accommodations.

"For many popular minsu, guests currently need to book a month in advance," he says.

Li Zheng, the Party secretary of Chongming, says the district will seize the opportunity to promote its ecotourism and green agriculture during the 11th China Ecological Civilization Summit held on the second day of the expo.

"We will continue the momentum of building Chongming into a beautiful countryside where people can gaze at the night stars, hear the birds sing and smell the flowers," Li says.

This news comes from: China Daily

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