Due to the corona crisis, projects were postponed and little was happening in greenhouse construction. In the meantime, the market is recovering worldwide. Vitotherm, a company for burner installations, is also seeing this activity in the Chinese market.
The company sees a lot of potential in the Chinese market. Geert-Willem van Weert explains why Vitotherm sees potential over there: “For a country like China, cultivation in controlled conditions seems like a good idea to me. After all, the country has to feed a lot of people. There is also a shortage of good water in China. A greenhouse can offer a solution.”
Geert-Willem is holding a Chinese certificate.
A start has been made with the construction of greenhouses in China. However, the market is not yet very active. Geert-Willem has a presumption why that is the case. “The products, which are now grown in the greenhouse, are often products that are not eaten by the Chinese. For example, you won't find a tomato on the Chinese menu. Growers are currently selling their tomatoes to McDonald's. What you often see happening is that when cities are built, acreage for agriculture and horticulture to feed the city is taken into account. These are gigantic projects in which various Dutch greenhouse builders have to work together because the project is very large.”
“If you want to set up something within China, it is often a process of several years. You have to invest a lot of time before you can work with them. Vitotherm joins Dutch greenhouse builders and installers and through them we supply our burner installations. Doing business directly with Chinese installers is still not achievable," says Geert-Willem.
Vitotherm expects that the Chinese market is going to resemble the Russian market and sees opportunities. Geert-Willem: “An awful lot of people are living there and it is a prosperous country. Shanghai is like Western Europe and has the same price level as London. The entrepreneurial and prosperous culture in the country offers a lot of opportunities. When the Chinese notice a revenue model in growing green vegetables that are part of their menu, many more greenhouses will be built.”
All burner suppliers must have approval for each type of burner. Vitotherm has now received the first certificate. If Vitotherm wants to cover their entire assortment, they ultimately will need sixteen certificates. “Fortunately, we can get started with it. We know how it works and what special requirements we have to meet. The certification must be organized in China itself. We will arrange that when we are in China for the commissioning.”
If you do not have a certificate, you cannot start work. “The burner is not allowed to burn without a certificate, so it is important to have the proper certification when the inspection is carried out. We now increasingly see that the inspector is addressing the customer without a certificate.”