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Who will be China’s durian king when the market expands? Do Philippines, Malaysia have a shot?

The Philippines and Malaysia are getting ready to take on Thailand, the dominant exporter at present, over the next five years as all attempt to take the top spot as sellers of the pungent, spiky fruits in China.

The global durian market is set to expand by 7.51 per cent from 2023 to 2030, USD Analytics forecast in October, and fellow forecaster Research and Markets predicted a 9.77 per cent compound annual growth rate by 2030 in a report last month.


Durians sell for staggering price of US$345 per kilogram at a market stall in Thailand

China makes up 95 per cent of global durian consumption, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The Chinese market has ample space to grow and supply would help lower prices, which consumers would welcome, said Zhao Xijun, a finance professor at Renmin University in Beijing.

“As far as the present goes, the price is pretty expensive, so the market is not saturated,” Zhao said. If China received more imports, he said, “the price would definitely come down”.

Durian, which has become so popular it is known in some quarters as the “king of fruits”, varies in quality from one purchase to the next in China, some consumers said. The fruit, known for its strong smell, can cost anywhere from 100 to 200 yuan (US$14 to US$28) apiece.

Zhao Yu, a 37-year-old finance professional in Shanghai, pays 28 yuan per half kilogram of durian on average. She has gone as high as 400 yuan for a box, a bulk purchase that let her try a variety of flavours.

“If the durians are near home and the price is acceptable, I’ll try it,” she said. Overall, however, she finds the price to be “not cheap” and would prefer a wider range of sources.

Beijing consumer Wang Hui finds prices “high” and