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    As Trade Ties Strengthen, China’s Appetite for Thai Fruit Soars

    From durians to apples, the Belt and Road Initiative is reshaping the fruit market dynamics between the two Asian giants.
    Oct 20, 2023#economy

    With the Belt and Road Initiative catalyzing trade ties, the fruit trade between China and Thailand is booming. 

    By 2023, Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce estimates that the country’s total fruit exports will exceed 4 million tons, 77% of which will head to China. And simultaneously, apples, grapes, and other fruits from China are pouring into Thai markets, establishing China as Thailand’s second-largest fruit supplier.

    Over the last five years, the balance of fruit trade between the two countries has dramatically shifted. In 2018, just 47% of Thailand’s fruit exports were directed to China. However, by 2022, that figure had surged to encompass nearly 90% of Thailand's total fruit exports.

    Today, China is the world’s top consumer and importer of durians. While Thailand’s durian exports to China stood at 19.4 billion baht ($532 million) in 2018, just the first eight months of 2023 witnessed sales skyrocketing to 124.5 billion baht — a sixfold increase in five years. Durian isn’t the sole attraction; longan and mangosteen also enjoy significant popularity in the Chinese market.

    And with ongoing reforms in transport and customs clearance between China and countries part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese fruits are gaining traction in Thailand. By 2022, over half of Thailand’s fruit imports originated from China.

    Benefiting from extended sunlight hours and significant day-night temperature variations in regions like Xinjiang and Yunnan, China cultivates an array of high-quality temperate fruits. These fruits, such as apples, pears, and grapes, hold a distinct market advantage in tropical Thailand.

    (Header image: VCG)