By Emma Lee
FlowerPlus, a subscription flower delivery service, announced on Monday that they have raised a 70 million RMB (US$10 million) Series A round led by New Margin Ventures.
Like its name suggests, FlowerPlus offers customers a no-frills flower delivery service. By following the company’s WeChat enterprise account, users can choose different flower packages through the chat interface, set a time and place for delivery, and pay using WeChat Payment. Compared to prices offered at brick-and-mortar flower shops, FlowerPlus’ prices are more affordable. Prices for single flower bouquets start at 98 RMB (US$14.88) and 168RMB for mixed ones.
Like fresh groceries, the speed of delivery and freshness of the flowers are the top priorities for the flower business. According to Wang Ke, the founder of FlowerPlus, the company will invest its latest round of funding into these two aspects. The Shanghai-based startup currently cooperates with over 500 flower farms, most of them in China’s Yunnan Province, and provides services in major cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.
The floral business is a new opportunity for startups targeting China’s rising middle class. In October 2015, China’s middle class reached at total 109 million, the largest in the world, according to research by Credit Suisse.
As a traditional industry, the flower business is ripe for disruption, especially in China. Compared to western countries, there are fewer brick-and-mortar flower stores in China. In addition, in a country where people were struggling for basic necessities like food and clothing just a few years ago, buying flowers on a regular basis is not very common.
However, China’s rapid economic transformation has raised incomes, allowing people to spend more on consumer discretionary products and services. Since physical stores cannot meet the rising demand from customers, online flower delivery has become the preferred option.
Chinese startups are tapping the market from different perspectives: RoseOnly is a high-tier online flower store targeting the gift market; EasyFlower is B2B platform that bridges flower farmers and stores; Floral & Life is an e-commence platform for flowers. To fully capitalize on its logistics network, 24Tidy, an on-demand laundry service, also offers a flower delivery service.
Source:: This Startup Wants To Disrupt China’s Floral Business