It has been twentyfive years since the first Priva process
computer was delivered in China. That was the start of steady,
continuous growth in the eastern part of Asia. Priva now has its
own office in Beijing, where a team of seven horticultural
specialists make an essential contribution to the automation of the
horticulture industry in China and the other countries in East and
Nearly seven years ago, Priva decided to open its own branch in
the Chinese capital of Beijing. "We soon realized that we needed a
physical presence in China to be able to make a significant
contribution to the development of the horticulture industry in
this region", reflects Oscar Niezen, the current General Manager of
Priva International Beijing.
The initial aims were to establish brand recognition and fill
the important function of service office in East Asia. "At that
time, we mainly worked with dealers in countries like Japan and
Korea. The presence of our own Sales Managers and Technical
Specialists provided enormous added value", Niezen stresses.
The Priva office in the Chinese capital also provides service
functions for various turnkey projects which are created in
collaboration with other leading Dutch horticulture suppliers.
Niezen sums it up, "that's the strength of our office: the position
in China and the service role in East Asia. After all, being closer
to the market means always being able to keep the costs manageable
and better serve your clients."
China is known as the 'big numbers country'. Oscar Niezen
considers himself lucky that this is not the case in the
horticulture industry. "Although China has many hectares of
agricultural and horticultural land under cultivation, the bulk of
it is not automated. However, that's starting to happen gradually,
particularly in ornamental plant cultivation. Vegetable cultivation
is mainly characterized by a great deal of manual labour. Labour is
cheap, but that's changing too. Moreover, experience is teaching
the Chinese that there is less risk of errors in an automated
process than in human hands."
According to Niezen, several big Dutch players (suppliers of
starting materials and end users) provide an important impetus to
the professionalisation of Chinese horticulture. "They realize
projects according to Western standards, but in Chinese
greenhouses. The first Priva Connext process computers are
being delivered now. But the Priva Maximizer is, in Chinese terms,
also a unique piece of horticultural technology."
The Chinese government is also contributing to the development
of the horticulture industry in the country, by setting up regional
demonstration centres. Niezen describes the centres as showrooms
for possible financial partners, but the centres also fulfil the
role of training centres. "The government sees that the
horticulture industry needs to be modernized, but the
implementation differs from region to region."
Using water responsibly, working on food safety, higher
production and more variation; these are more or less the
objectives of the Chinese horticulture industry. "The north of
China is struggling with a water shortage. That also contributes to
more understanding and increasing automation."
According to Niezen the steady growth of the horticulture
industry is a positive development. In his experience, there's a
lot to be done at the knowledge level. "The sector has to
experience the advantages of automation. Why do you need to control
the dosing of watering and artificial fertilizer? And what role can
Priva play in this? There are plenty of challenges there."
Niezen, who recently took over the baton in China from Maarten
Hartong, finds that the scientific level of the Chinese is high.
"Practical experience shows that there is a great need for training
on the shop floor: the growers have to develop further."
What is certain is that major changes have already been
implemented in comparison with fifteen years ago. "They are now
working to an economic model and companies are ready to pay for
good starting material. China has everything, China can do
anything, but for specific knowledge in specific sub-areas the
added value of Western specialists, like Priva, is being recognized
more and more."
The Asian Market
"As a team, we will have an increasingly visible presence in the
Asian market", says Oscar Niezen. "The consumer is making higher
and higher demands and also wants more variation. That's where the
opportunities lie for the horticulture industry in the region and
that's where Priva can and would like to make a significant
The photo shows the current Priva International Beijing team:
The ladies on the picture are (left) Mu XueMei, she has been
working at Priva in China since the beginning and is the Office and
Finance Manager. On the right: Hao Xiu Qinq, she is assisting Mu
XueMei. On the far left and right of the photo are Account Managers
China Zheng Kai (right) and Han Ming Bao (left).The three man in
the middle are ( left) General Manager Oscar Niezen, (middle) Shi
Zhan Hu, is a Technical Engineer and the right-hand man of
Technical and Field Manager Lars Steffensen (right). Lars comes
from Denmark, where he was employed by a Priva dealer.
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