“Chinese winter is the peak sales period for Malaysian durian”
Malaysia received permission to export durians to China more than half a year ago. Their export volume grows every month. December will be a peak sales period for Malaysian durian. Executive Director Mr. He of the Malaysia Newleaf Plantation recently talked about the production of Malaysian durians and the current market conditions.
“Our company is located in Pahang Province, Malaysia. Our durian orchards produce two harvests per year in July and December. Malaysia obtained permission to export whole durian to China in June. We immediately began to export our whole durian to the Chinese market. We deep-freeze our durian with liquid nitrogen before we export them to China. Before we started to export whole durian we already exported refrigerated pieces of durian and durian fruit paste. As for the prices of our products, the price of whole Musang King durian fluctuates according to developments in the fresh fruit market.”
“Chinese winter is the peak period of Malaysian during sales. This is because the durian is a complementary fruit. Chinese consumers believe that the durian keeps the body temperature up, which is why Chinese consumers prefer to eat durian in the winter,” explained Mr. He.
A great number of Malaysian durian farmers have expanded the surface area devoted to durian plantation in order to satisfy the growing Chinese market demand for durian. When asked whether the rapid expansion of surface area devoted to durian plantation will cause a surge in production that could lead to market saturation when all the durian enter the market around the same time, Mr. He stated, “We do not worry about this at all. Our export volume grows every month. However, only 1% of the Chinese population is currently able to purchase durian. In general, market demand greatly exceeds supply. We believe that the expansion of durian production in Malaysia will not lead to a saturated market in the near future.”
Mr. He immediately added, “Many Chinese consumers have the impression that Malaysian durian are expensive, but this is not the case. There are more than 200 durian varieties in Malaysia. In addition to the well-known, high-end Musang King durian, Malaysia also produces D24, Sultan King, and red-meat durian varieties. The prices of these varieties are significantly lower than that of the Musang King durian. These durian varieties offer a great price-quality ratio. The only difference is that they do not have the publicity of the Musang King durian.”
“In China, we mainly cooperate with supermarket chains. Together we started the online retail of our durian in JD this year. We mainly sell whole Musang King durian.”
When asked about the growing number of counterfeit Malaysian Musang King durian, Mr. He explained, “Malaysian consumers are familiar with durian consumption, but Chinese consumers have not had the time to fully understand the difference between Musang King durian and other varieties. Teaching Chinese consumers how to recognize durian varieties is the key to smooth market operations in China.”
Newleaf Group is a company specialized in the production and export of durian. The company has durian plantations in Pahang Province with a surface area of around 405 hectares. “We have developed an intelligent recognition system to distinguish top-quality durian in our plantation. In this way we guarantee the quality of the durian we export to the Chinese market. Every tree in our plantation has an identifier that helps us keep track of durian variety, fertilization and irrigation information, disease records, and productivity. This also helps employees to understand which trees require more fertilizer or water. This system greatly improves the efficiency of our plantation and cuts down the cost of labor,” explained Mr. He.
For more information:
Newleaf Plantation Berhad