The current supply of bok choy mainly comes from production areas in and around Tangshan in Hebei as well as Qingzhou in Shandong. Hebei predominantly supplies bok choy from warehouses, while production areas in Shandong supply the first fresh bok choy of the new production season. The price of bok choy from the warehouse is around 0.9-1.0 yuan [0.13-0.14 USD] per 0.5 kg, while the fresh bok choy from Shandong sells for 1-1.2 yuan [0.14-0.17 USD] per 0.5 kg. The main reason for the downward trend of the bok choy price is the arrival of fresh bok choy from Shandong. The growing supply volume of fresh bok choy puts pressure on the price of bok choy in warehouses in north China.
Fresh bok choy from Shandong enters the market around this time every year and complements supply from warehouses in the north, which start to run low around this time of year. The price drop around this time of year is therefore a regular feature of the bok choy market.
This year, however, the price of bok choy started out higher than around this time last year because the outbreak of the corona virus created huge demand for fresh vegetables, while simultaneously increasing the cost price of labor and transport. The regular supply season of bok choy can be divided into several stages. First, from the end of one year until March in the subsequent year, the production areas of Hubei supply large volumes of bok choy to the Beijing area. However, Hubei was the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak around Chinese Spring Festival [25 January, 2020], which occurred right in the middle of the Hubei supply season. The affected bok choy farms were unable to transport their bok choy to the market in Beijing. The consumers in Beijing therefore had to rely on winter bok choy from warehouses in Hebei. The price rapidly increased in response to these developments.
Traders from Beijing Xinfadi Market quickly turned to Yueyang in Hunan, Zhangzhou in Fujian, and Nanyang in Henan to secure additional supply channels and limit the rising price of bok choy in Beijing. The price quickly came down and stabilized.
Hunan, Fujian, and Henan are not regular bok choy suppliers to the Beijing market and their supply volume was not sufficient to keep the Beijing market satisfied. The price began to rise again and remained relatively high until fresh bok choy from Qingzhou in Shandong began to enter the market in large volumes the middle of March. Only then did the bok choy price experience its seasonal decline.
According to bok choy traders in Beijing Xinfadi Market, fresh bok choy from production areas in Hebei and Tianjin will enter the Beijing market when April is over. The price is then expected to come down quickly and stabilize.
Source: Jinri Toutiao