China importing $2.2 billion durian from Thailand in 2020
Published: Feb 28, 2021 02:44 PM
Durian photo: VCG

Durian photo: VCG

The Chinese appetite for Thai durian remains strong despite the coronavirus pandemic. China imported 575,000 tons of durians worth 14.7 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) from Thailand in 2020, up 78 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand. 

This makes China the largest export market for fresh durian from Thailand, the ministry said.

In 2019, Thailand exported $1.46 billion worth of durians to overseas markets, a rise of 54.6% from the previous year, with China and ASEAN nations accounting for 98% of export.

Since 2019, imported durian has overtaken cherries as the most favored imported fruit among Chinese consumers.

The top nine fruits in order of import value in 2020 were fresh durians, cherries, bananas, mangosteens, fresh grapes, dragon fruit, longans, kiwifruit and oranges (fresh and dried).

Durians took the top spot, accounting for 78 percent of the total import value. It is estimated that over 90 percent of the fresh durian in China is imported from Thailand.

The robust growth was partly driven by China’s growing consumption power, a Shanghai based imported fruit dealer, surnamed Dong, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Dong said that the price for Thai durian has soared almost 40 percent compared with 2019 due to the short supply caused by the coronavirus. It is still in high demand among his customers.

"Chinese people love durians and they can afford the expensive imported food,” Dong said. He was able to sell dozens of durians on a daily basis.

Currently, Thai durians are sold at 50 yuan per kilogram and it is expected that the price will drop from May with further supply coming to the market, he said.

Global Times