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Durian sales surge in China as demand soars

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-25 15:22
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Workers package durians at a fruit processing factory in Vietnam's Dak Lak Province in September. [Photo/Xinhua]

NANNING -- Opinions on durians, whether described as sticky-sweet or compared to the odor of socks, vary widely, yet the demand for durians is rapidly increasing, particularly in China.

After placing orders online for durians, Huang Rongsheng, a resident of South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, received doorstep delivery within about one hour. This was Huang's third online order for durian this year.

"Thai durians, known for their rich flavor and dense texture, are particularly popular among Chinese consumers," he said.

Thailand, the leading exporter of fresh durians to China, has seen sustained growth in demand for its produce. At a newly established display stand in a market around 5 km from Huang's home, imported Thai durians, including varieties like Golden Pillow and Musang King, are drawing crowds of consumers.

"Despite limited quantities and high prices, consumer enthusiasm remains unabated," said a fruit vendor at the supermarket.

China's appetite for the pricy tropical fruit is enormous. According to an HSBC report from last year, the Chinese market accounted for 91 percent of the global demand for durian in the past two years.

Buoyed by the overwhelming demand, retailers are optimistic about their sales projections for 2024.

"There's a robust demand in the Chinese domestic market," said Lai Pingsheng with a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand Group, a leading agribusiness conglomerate in Thailand.

In 2024, the company plans to sell 324 tonnes of Thai durians in Guangxi through supermarkets and convenience stores.

China imported approximately $6.7 billion worth of durians in 2023. Economists believe that the surge in durian demand presents opportunities for the rest of Southeast Asia, not just Thailand.

Remarkable year-end figures from 2023 revealed that Vietnamese durian exports to China hit $2.1 billion, capturing 31 percent of a growing durian market in its northern neighbor, according to data released by China's General Administration of Customs.

The soaring popularity of durians in China underscores the increasing purchasing power of consumers and their preference for this fruit, said Mo Jiaming, general manager of Guangxi-based fruit company Youxianyuan.

"I am confident of profitable business during the upcoming peak durian season in May," Mo added.

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