An increasing number of Chinese traders are travelling to Chiang Rai and Phayao Provinces in northern Thailand to invest in banana plantations. The bananas produced in these plantations ultimately end up on the Chinese market. Data shows that China consumes a total of around 6 million tons of bananas per year. Nearly 1 million of those tons are imported. Chinese traders have increasingly turned to banana plantations in Thailand since 2016. They cooperate with Thai banana plantation owners and import the bananas to China.
Thailand was not the first choice for the Chinese banana import market. Prior to 2011, 80% of bananas imported to China came from the Philippines, but diplomatic relations became tense in 2012 and the banana import from the Philippines only recovered in 2016. This development changed the distribution of Chinese banana imports with Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam taking advantage of their proximity to China to enlarge their market share.
Ma Yun visited Thailand in April, 2018, to facilitate the "marriage" between Thai fruit and Chinese e-commerce platforms. He guaranteed Chinese market demand so that Thai banana farmers could expand production without worrying about the risk. The Thai banana export volume to China continues to increase. Data from the Thai Customs Office shows that banana export grew between 2014 and 2017. Last year alone the export value reached 350 million USD.
Source: Global Times