The 4.4 million tons of fresh fruit China imported in 2017 constituted a rise of 12%. This result is in sharp contrast with that of 2016, when fresh fruit imports dropped by 2.5%.
Thailand reclaimed its place from Chile as China’s top fruit supplier. Indeed, it was a good year for the Thais, with their fresh fruit exports to all countries rising by 41%. Particularly strong growth was recorded in exports of longan, durian and mangosteen. Shipments of Thai fresh fruit sent to China were worth US$1.2 billion – 21% of China’s fruit imports.
In contrast, imports of Chilean fruit to China fell from US$1.18 billion (24% of total) in 2016 to just over US$1 billion in 2017. Behind Chile came Vietnam (US$658 million), the Philippines (US$531 million), the United States (US$420 million), New Zealand (US$354 million), Australia (US$276 million), South Africa (US$227 million), Peru (US$220 million), and Ecuador (US$100 million).
In terms of value, China’s most popular imported fruit remained the cherry. This was followed by table grapes and durian. The overall share of these three leading fruits shrunk this year, suggesting the Chinese palate is becoming more diversified. The fruits which have made the most in-roads are orange, longan and bananas, which increased their shares of total import volumes by 61%, 52% and 17% respectively.