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8 Jul 2021

Econ Digest

Export value for Thai durian hit record high as the demand from Chinese market is still strong


        The export value of Thai durian reached a monthly record high of USD934.9 million in May 2021, with growth of 95.3%YoY, ranking in second place among Thailand's key export agricultural products. Going forward, there will still be more opportunities to set new records. Thai durian has performed well in global market, with China accounting for 70%of all durian exports in the global market. Since Hong Kong makes up nearly 20% of the remaining market share for durian, the Chinese market alone dominates the overall durian market. Thailand is the world's largest durian exporter in terms of both volume and export value, with competitive advantage include: long-standing experience in exporting fruits; location that is close to China which enables shipments of fresh durian to reach Chinese consumers quickly and at acceptable prices; and the unique taste of Thai durian that has become widely regarded in the global market, with Thailand setting the taste standards for durian prior to any other countries.


        Recently, durian prices have risen continuously due to surging demand for durian in the Chinese market. While Thai durian represents 99% of all durian imported by China and Hong Kong, Thai durian supply is currently insufficient to satisfy strong demand from many regions across China. Hence, China has had to import durian from other countries as well. To maintain their market share, Thai durian exporters should rapidly adopt proactive marketing strategies, including the introduction of new durian varieties to China market to increase market opportunities in the long run, the use of social networks for marketing purposes through China's WeChat account and E-commerce platforms, as well as quality control in terms of planting, harvesting at the appropriate time, and logistics to maintain deliciousness and original taste,thus helping highlight distinctive features  of Thai durian.


        ​KResearch projects that total exports of fresh Thai durian will grow by around 35-40% YoY in 2021, with an export value of USD 2.8-2.9 billion. Although durian from Thailand's regional rivals has started to penetrate foreign markets, their production capacity is relatively small, it may take 4-5 years before they can accelerate their production to compete with Thai shipments. Over the next decade, Thailand can expect increasing competition from new rivals like Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Thai durian farmers should expedite proactive marketing to attract new consumers ahead of its rivals – especially expansion of the durian market to China's inner provinces, including accelerating market penetration in other ways to retain Chinese consumers. Branching out to other Asian countries that are already familiar with Thai fruits and new markets in other regions should also be considered.

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