Thai durian exports to China have surged since a high-speed rail link opened between neighboring Laos and China, cutting delivery times and offering a fresh delivery route for the fruit. However, an economic slowdown in China and the impact of the El Niño weather pattern on Southeast Asia are casting some shadows.
The durian industry is becoming increasingly important as its export revenues rise. Last year they were 110 billion baht ($3.1 billion) -- close to the 130 billion baht that Thailand gained from rice exports. Thailand's durian exports to China reached 446,152 tons between January and May, up 58% from 281,528 tons in the same period last year, according to its Ministry of Commerce.