In 2019, China's durian imports witnessed a 47% year-on-year increase and this tropical fruit replaced cherries as the top fruit category imported by China in terms of value.
In the first half of 2020, even the COVID-19 pandemic did not substantially diminish the Chinese demand for durians. According to data from China Customs, China's imports of fresh and frozen durians over this period totaled $1.62 billion, corresponding to a 73.5% year-on-year increase and almost reaching the $1.82 billion imported during the whole of 2019.
Still, the import volume over the same period only registered a 10.8% year-on-year increase, reaching a total of 397,000 tons. Thus, this year's explosive growth in the import value of durians is predominantly attributable to a substantially increased unit price.
To date, fresh durians from Thailand and frozen durians from both Thailand and Malaysia have received approval for export to China. In the first half of 2020, China's imports of fresh durians reached $1.52 billion, corresponding to a 75.7% year-on-year increase. The unit price of imported fresh durians during this period stood at $3.98 per kilogram, corresponding to a 59.5% year-on-year increase.
Durianharvests.com reports that meanwhile, the import value of frozen Thai durians totaled $63.43 million in the first half of 2020, corresponding to an 18.6% year-on-year increase, with the unit price standing at $5.80 per kilogram, a 2.9% year-on-year increase. Over the same period, China's imports of frozen Malaysian durians totaled $40.37 million, corresponding to a 128.4% year-on-year increase, while the unit price stood at $5.80 per kilogram, a 0.48% year-on-year increase.