Banana imports reached a new record volume in May 2019, with a volume of 227,200 in one month alone. This soaring demand for bananas in China is attributable not only to a growing middle class but also to the popularity of “Western” products like smoothies. In 2018, China overtook Japan as the main overseas market for Philippine bananas, and now receives over two-thirds of the Pacific island’s banana exports. Banana cargoes are also on the rise from Mexico and Cambodia.
The most imported fruit to China in value terms in 2018 were cherries ($1.3 billion), an increase of 69.4% from the previous year. Next came durians ($1.1 billion, + 9.4%), bananas ($0.9 billion, +54.8%), and grapes ($0.6 billion, down 0.3%). In volume terms, bananas lead the way (1.5 million tons, +48.7%), followed by durians (0.4 million tons, +92.5%), and oranges (0.4 million tons, +9%).