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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Sweethearts make this rosiest season

By Li Yingqing and Li Lianxing (China Daily)

09:03, February 14, 2012

KUNMING - "This is a special day for me, and only roses could represent my love to my girl," said Qian Jiale in Beijing, who has ordered 99 roses for his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.

"It's expensive and cost me nearly 1,000 yuan ($160), but I usually buy flowers only on this day, so whatever it costs, I'll buy it," he said.

Many young men like Qian contributed to the annual price surge for roses around Feb 14.

Zhang Li, general manager of Kunming International Flower Auction Trade Center, said the price of roses started rising 10 days ago and reached a peak on Feb 8 at 2.5 yuan per rose on average. The finest specimens could reach close to 12 yuan, compared with 1.5 yuan on normal days.

Amid a gloomy economic situation, the rose business has steadily continued to grow, increasing from an average price of 1.5 to 2 yuan in 2011 to 2.5 yuan this year.

"This year, more than 50 million roses were sold at Dounan Flower Market in Kunming, which is 85 percent of the total national sale of roses before Valentine's Day," Zhang said. He added that the reason Kunming did so well is that roses have a hard time growing elsewhere because of the unfavorable winter weather.

Roses from Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, went not only to other Chinese cities, but also to Southeast and Central Asia and Russia.

Hou Yujuan, a Beijing flower shop owner, went to Dounan Flower Market to select roses a few days ago. She said a single rose costs 2.5 yuan in Kunming, but the price will be at least 15 yuan when it gets to Beijing.

"It's not only the price of flowers that's rising, but also the transportation cost, which has more than tripled," she said. "Most days, it costs 3 yuan a kilogram to deliver roses by air, but now it's 10 yuan."

Dounan Flower Market is the biggest fresh-flower market in China and even Asia. More than 1,000 kinds of flowers can be found there, and the daily trade volume reaches 500 to 700 tons.

Zhou Hongmei, 47, a flower farmer in Kunming, said these days are golden.

"This is the best time of the year to sell flowers because the price and trade volume of roses grows to many times what it is the rest of the year," she said. "The money I earn around Valentine's Day is equal to a month's income the rest of the time."

She said a rose that sells for 3 yuan on Valentine's Day is only 0.10 yuan at the cheapest time of the year.

Zhou's family has 20 hectares of roses, each of which earns 20,000 yuan a year, which means her family could earn around 400,000 yuan yearly by selling roses.

Guo Anfei contributed to this story.

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