Southeast Asian durian a focal point at CIIE; Chinese consumption potential injects vitality into bilateral trade
Published: Nov 10, 2023 12:23 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Various durian products from fresh fruit to durian-made ice cream and cakes have been displayed on the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) as a major focus for exhibitors from Southeast Asia, as China's rapidly rising and diverse consumption potential further injects vitality into trade between China and Southeast Asian countries.

The golden Puyat durian from the Philippines enjoys a prominent position at Dole's booth. Makoto Sawanoi, president of Dole Fresh Produce Group, told the Global Times that the first shipment of Philippine durians arrived in China in April this year. Currently, Dole has shipped about 3,000 tons of Philippine durians to the Chinese market, Sawanoi said, stating that the company's aim is to double this amount in 2024.

In January this year, China and the Philippines reached an agreement on importing fresh durians from the Philippines, adding the Philippines to a list of durian exporting countries which includes Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Although domestically produced durians debuted on the Chinese market for the first time in 2023, almost all durians consumed in China are currently imported from Southeast Asian countries, with the consumption expecting to hit one million tons this year. China's appetite for durian has increased global demand for the tropical fruit by 400 percent, according to a report by HSBC.

Thai business giant CP Group has also established a high-quality fruit brand CP Fresh in recent years, with Thai durians being the major export commodity targeting the Chinese market. 

Yin Rengui, general manager of global strategic sourcing and trade for CP Group China told the Global Times that 2023 marks the third year for the group exporting durians to China, with more than 500 standard containers being delivered, and the company aimed to achieve a goal of 3,000 standard containers in 2024. 

Durian trade provides an epitome of Southeast Asian food and agricultural sectors that are optimistic about the Chinese market and benefit from it at this year's CIIE. SpiceMama, a Singaporean startup that specializes in ready-to-eat flavored seasonings, is exhibiting at the expo for the first time. 

Jiamin, the founder of SpiceMama told the Global Times that the company has chosen China as its next market. With the expansion of the urban population, Chinese consumers have a broader demand for ready-to-eat seasonings, she said, adding that the open and diversified market also allows her to see the possibility of success for Southeast Asian flavoring products.

Observers said that more Southeast Asian food products and agricultural enterprises will be able to share the dividends from China's strong growth in the post-epidemic era as bilateral trade further gains momentum.