China’s durian imports surge as Vietnam challenges Thai dominance

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Beijing’s decision to allow fresh durian imports from Vietnam has led to a surge in demand for the fruit in China, with importers like Bob Wang, founder of TWT Supply China, securing deals with Vietnamese durian farms. Despite the pandemic-related import restrictions, China saw a fourfold increase in durian imports in 2022 compared to 2017, reaching a total value of over US$4 billion. Although Thailand has long dominated the Chinese durian market, increased imports from Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines are challenging this dominance.

Wang, who has been importing durian from Thailand for eight years, expects to import more than 3,000 containers or 60,000 tonnes of Vietnamese durian this year, three times his import from Thailand. He attributes the growing popularity of Vietnamese durians to their lower price, being about 15% cheaper than Thai durians.

To accommodate the growing market demand, cities in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, which borders Vietnam, are improving logistics to facilitate imports from their neighbour. Chongzuo, a border city in Guangxi, is constructing an advanced logistics centre with cold-chain storage and food-processing facilities, with the first phase of investment amounting to about 1.8 billion yuan (US$254 million) and expected to be operational by 2025.

The improved access to Vietnamese durians is anticipated to boost consumption further, as the fruit can now reach all parts of China within one to three days. Chen Xiao, director of Dongxing Port Service Centre in Guangxi, also expects significant growth in durian imports from Vietnam this year, reported Channel News Asia.

As the appetite for durian continues to grow in China, many fruit farmers in Vietnam are shifting their focus to durian farming. Wang believes that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will facilitate greater durian trade in the future, with more ASEAN countries such as Indonesia potentially becoming major durian suppliers to China.

Two weeks ago, a sneaky Vietnamese durian vendor was caught doctoring weighing scales to trick customers in Thailand. The faulty scales upped the price of the stinky, valuable fruit by 75 baht per sale. Read more about the story HERE.

World News


Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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