China’s durian industry is developing quickly. This is causing concern among Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia. Chinese growers have been cultivating tropical fruits in Hainan province since the 1950s. Durian cultivation started taking off in 2020. As Hainan is preparing for its first durian harvest this year, about 2,450 tons of the fruit are expected to go on sale next month.
Although Malaysia exports high-end frozen durians to China, the country remains confident that the Chinese tropical fruit crop will not replace imports anytime soon. SCMP reported that Malaysian durian expert Lim Chin Khee said he did not expect tropical fruit production in China to skyrocket because growers had to pay rent for farmland instead of owning it outright, and typhoons would occasionally wipe out their crops.
Also, Hainan’s subtropical climate produced durians that were no match for the quality of fruits grown in Thailand and Malaysia, which already had an enviable reputation in China. However, Hainan’s fruit production could take off with ambition, automation and lower prices.