“Horticultural technology increasingly purchased locally”

More and more Dutch companies are finding their way to the Chinese market. Knight can certainly be counted among the pioneers, the company has been active in Asia for years. Fulco Wijdooge, general manager of China in the company, tells us more about the services they offer there and the opportunities and challenges that come with it.

“We offer software, monitors and drive systems, among other things. Also climate computers, and one must also offer training. That’s why you really have to be present in those regions. ”

A visit to the Youyou project on Chongming Island in Shanghai, where Knight’s job registration system has been implemented.

Product and service
The majority of the products are still supplied from the Netherlands, but some are already produced in China, especially many semi-finished products and screens. I hope to bring other parts to China in time. In light of market developments, you have to be active locally. ”

The Chinese branch of the Knight is already responsible for all sales and service. To do this, the company employs people locally who are trained in crop management. “We also have two crop consultants who provide training and operations management; we want to expand that part of crop management further. Think about giving instructions to run a garden, or for example the concept: how do you want to market it, what do you do with the branding? ”

A challenge here is to get people on the spot on board. Greenhouse builders often send agronomists to China to explain everything, but the most important thing is to make sure the advice is listened to. “We saw this, for example, with the project at Youyou on Chongming Island in Shanghai, where we set up our work registration system. We really spend a lot of time training, monitoring and helping. Then people will also see how it should be approached, and it will have a much better chance of success. ”

You can also see this at FoodVentures, where Fulco is also involved. “The Dutch guidance team has the floor there, and that makes the chance much greater for doing so successfully.” At Ridder, therefore, the focus is not only on technology, but also on services, cultivation supervision, training, marketing and so on.

“A job registration system will also help, and we are also in the process of rolling out HortOS in China – which will probably be launched in 2023. This also gives you the opportunity to map the financial flows. After all, cultivation is only part of the entire history of the company. ”

But in the end, a well-functioning garden is the foundation. “You need a computer and a few knowledgeable people. But technology can help develop it further.” And the blacksmith’s secret then is that not only do you sell a product, but that it still works after a year. “You also have to be able to do something about it – long strokes, home quickly does not work.”

Horticultural specialist Ms.Cai Ke explains about Knight’s job registration system.

So the question is: what are you investing in as a (Dutch) technology supplier in China? Fulco says flowers are doing well in China: “You get higher margins there and you find more stability and experience. However, growing vegetables is the biggest part, it’s where most of the projects now come from. However, you need to know “How to market it. If you focus only on one niche in the higher segment, your sales will be too low; if you focus only on wholesale, your price will be too low.”

The solution is to look beyond your own business: look at the overall concept, reads Fulco’s advice. “Look at how you can establish a profitable business. You have to keep an eye on the customer and it’s also about marketing, it’s about more than just cultivation technology. A grower should start with the market, not with a project.”

Horticultural specialist Ms.Cai Ke explains about Knight’s job registration system.

In that quest, Knight is currently also targeting the mid-tech segment. “Film greenhouses with perhaps less technology, but with a good irrigation machine and a somewhat simpler climate computer. Your investment is smaller, but you get a good crop with a sensible production that you can put away at a good price. ”

Fulco sees this middle segment as the biggest growth factor for China. “Take the blueberries, for example. Then you have 20 hectares of blueberries with tunnels, and it runs like clockwork. An example is HortiJet. This is a bypass device that can handle large areas. We do not think it is suitable in the Netherlands, but in China sees the much better results at a reasonable price, so they think it’s great. “

As a horticultural supplier in that segment, you therefore have more to do with ‘consultative sales’. “So it’s not just about selling Knight equipment, but about offering the right solution to the situation. In short, do not focus on the high-tech market, but see where steps can be taken. ”

Technology in the foil greenhouse
What kind of technology do you have in the middle technology segment? “In Chinese foil greenhouses, outdoor screens are often used. It’s blown over from the flowers and has to do with radiation. “

In terms of climate computer, HortiMaX-Go! a popular choice for simpler crops, says Fulco. “But most often you still see the CX500, a mid-range engine, and MultiMa as the best choice of high quality. We therefore have a choice in the different segments, but the combination with our botanists ultimately helps the most. No matter what computer you have, if you do not train people, it’s a waste of money. The computer is a resource – it’s mainly about what you provide of knowledge. ”

Knight drive systems are a favorite among many greenhouse builders, and it is no different in China. “Knight engines last longer and have more functions, but are therefore also more expensive. In terms of price, we also have motors specifically for foil greenhouses. They are cheaper but still have a premium price compared to a local engine. So you pay more for our engines, but then you also have a uniform product that really works. You can often see from the price whether a product is good or not – this is also the case with screens. Eighty percent of the price of a screen is determined by the raw material, so cheap is often also expensive in that case. ”

For more information:
Fulco Widow
Manager 区 总经理 General Manager
M +86 158 1050 1047
T +86 021 209 898 15 Ext. 881

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