The internationalization of World Horti Center: why and where?

Jim Koop gives an insight in the foreign expansion plans of World Horti Center

To reinforce our international mission as horticultural knowledge- and innovation center, World Horti Center is expanding with new locations all over the world, starting with China. Why? Because horticulture is becoming more and more international by the day. Space, climate and the foreign sales market offer so many opportunities for horticultural organisations. As a knowledge partner, we follow in our participants footsteps by also facilitating education, business and research abroad.

Local presence essential

Jim Koop is Manager International Operations at World Horti Center. He’s currently researching possibilities for foreign expansion, sketching the international strategy of World Horti Center and realising the first World Horti Center in China. “Every country has its own culture, climate, knowledge level, trends and developments. Local presence is essential to truly understand the local market and to be able to successfully do business in horticulture. We help our participants to get to know the market and to adjust their business to local demands. At the moment, all of the current participants are active abroad. “The knowledge and experience they gain by doing so, is very valuable input for our international strategy. It’s up to us to collect all of this information to fine-tune our policy.”

Stimulance for growth international horticulture

Apart from getting to know the local market, World Horti Center is also a source of knowledge for other countries. “The Netherlands possesses of the most horticultural knowledge by far. Other countries are often a step behind in developments.

By taking our knowledge abroad, we stimulate growth of the international horticultural industry. We’ll be doing so with local partners, but always according to World Horti Centers philosophy: driven by the demands of the business.”

Why China?

The first foreign World Horti Center will be opened in China, in 2021. “The Chinese market is rapidly expanding, especially in flower- and plant production. However, the general horticultural knowledge in China is left far behind compared to The Netherlands. That’s why World Horti Center in China will focus mainly on training and education.” Jim knows what he’s talking about, as he experienced China for himself. “I’ve lived and worked in China for over 5 years. I know the culture and speak the language.” Where their horticulture industry is somewhat left behind, China’s way ahead of us on some other levels. “We can learn a lot from China when it comes to artificial intelligence and robotics.” Jim also says the line between horticulture and other markets in China is much less distinct than in The Netherlands. “Over here, horticulture is really an industry on its own, whereas abroad a lot of companies from other sectors are active in horticulture. This leads to an interesting interaction.”

Realisation of the first Chinese World Horti Center is in full swing, in cooperation with TUS. The aspired goal is to open four Chinese locations, starting off with the first one in Kunming.