Well-known science blogger Yang Xiaoyang announced on the 8th of September that the Hema app erroneously sold D13 durian packaged as the more expensive, rarer Black Thorn durian. On the 9th of September, Hema publicly apologized and admitted to their mistake. The company will contact relevant departments and launch an investigation into the Chinese labels on imported durian. All the customers who purchased these durian will receive a full refund. And the product in question has been removed from the Hema app.
Blogger Yang Xiaoyang pointed out that the 'Black Thorn durian' he purchased from the Hema app looked quite green and rather small. The weight was less than 1.5 kg. Furthermore, the durian was flat at the bottom and had many small spikes. Unlike regular durian, the 'shoulder' of this durian showed an incline that is quite common for the standard D13 durian. True Black Thorn durian are round and smooth, rather large and plump, and the thorns are quite thick. Perhaps more importantly, the bottom of Black Thorn durian has a distinct, characteristic 'belly button' indentation.
True Black Thorn durian are registered with the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture under the number D200. The D13 durian were registered between 1934-1936, but the D200 durian was only registered in 2016. Blogger Yang Xiaoyang suspected that the Hema app page mistakenly promoted common D13 durian as Black Thorn, while the latter has a smaller production volume and a richer flavor. Blogger Yang Xiaoyang tried to contact the Hema customer service, but received no satisfactory reply.
Hema publicly apologized on the 9th of September. The statement explained that the Malaysian D13 durian were promoted on the Hema channel, but an image of the Black Thorn durian was accidentally attached to the product page. The D13 does not have an official name in China, and is sometimes referred to as "mini Black Thorn".
The Hema statement explained that the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture only registers durian varieties under numbers, from D1 to D201. The company is currently in the process of changing all internal references in the Hema app to the official registration number, for example, the Musang King durian will be promoted as the Malaysian Musang King D197.
At the moment, there are no official, standardized Chinese names for all durian varieties in the Chinese market. Hema is working with Malaysian counterparts to standardize the Chinese names for Malaysian durian. And in the future this system will hopefully include other fruits as well, so that there is a direct correspondence between the scientific name and the commercial product name for all fruits.
The Hema statement also emphasized that all customers who purchased this durian will receive full refund.
Source: Southern Metropolitan