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Durian Diplomacy: Vietnam Outshines Thailand in the Chinese Market

Daniel Kim Views  

베트남에 1등 자리 빼앗긴 태국…요즘 中서 불티나게 팔리는 ‘이것’
Yonhap News

Thailand, once the unrivaled exporter of the “King of Tropical Fruits,” the Durian, has lost its throne to Vietnam. Until recently, Thai Durians dominated the Chinese market with a share of over 90%. However, Vietnam has rapidly gained ground, causing Thailand to relinquish its top position.

On March 8, Vietnamese media outlet VnExpress reported that Vietnam had surpassed Thailand by supplying 32,750 tons (72,310,211 lbs) to China in the first two months of this year. This accounts for 57% of China’s Durian imports, a significant increase from the 32% share during the same period last year.

During the same period, Thai Durians accounted for roughly 33% of the total imports, nearly half last year’s amount.

The Durian holds paramount importance in Thailand’s export portfolio, primarily consumed in the Chinese market, so this development has raised alarm in Thailand. In 2021, Durian even recorded its position as Thailand’s foremost export item.

The Durian has recently gained immense popularity in China, single-handedly driving over 90% of the global demand for Durians.

Vietnamese Durians have garnered favor in China due to their accessibility and competitive pricing. Vietnam shares a border with China, making transportation easy. Also, Vietnam’s year-round Durian cultivation capabilities translate to approximately 20% lower prices than those from Thailand.

Currently, Vietnam is limited to exporting fresh Durians to China, whereas Thailand can also market frozen and processed Durian products.

VnExpress speculated, “If China allows Vietnam to export frozen Durians as well, the competitive edge of Thai Durians will further diminish.”

Meanwhile, despite its notorious smell, the tropical fruit Durian is often called the “King of Fruits” for its sweet taste, unique buttery texture, and rich nutrients.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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