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China’s Fruit Import and Export Statistics for 2019 Released

February 23, 2020

Recently released data from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products indicate that in 2019 China imported approximately 6.83 million tons of fruit with a total value of $9.5 billion, representing year-on-year (YOY) increases of 24% and 25%, respectively. Meanwhile, China’s fruit exports in 2019 totaled a volume of 3.61 million tons and a value of $5.5 billion, corresponding to YOY increases of 4% and 14%, respectively.


Overall, the list of top ten exporters of fruit to China in 2019 remained similar to that in 2018. Ranked in descending order of export value, these countries were Thailand, Chile, the Philippines, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Ecuador, South Africa and the U.S. In 2019, Thailand reclaimed its position as the top exporter of fruit to China in terms of value, after previously losing the number one spot to Chile in 2018.

The top nine fruit categories by import value were fresh durians ($1.6 billion, +47% YOY), fresh cherries ($1.4 billion, +7% YOY), bananas ($1.1 billion, +22% YOY), mangosteens ($790 million, +128% YOY), fresh grapes ($640 million, +10% YOY), fresh kiwifruit ($450 million, +11% YOY), fresh longans ($420 million, +17% YOY), oranges ($400 million, −8% YOY) and fresh dragon fruit ($360 million, −9% YOY). These nine main categories accounted for 75% of the total import value.


Fresh cherry imports accounted for 15% of the total value in 2019, although this represented a slight dip compared to the previous year, when the figure was 18.77%. In 2019, China imported approximately 193,000 tons of cherries (+4% YOY). The main suppliers of cherries to China were Chile (171,000 tons, +4% YOY) and the U.S. (14,000 tons, −2% YOY). Imports from these two countries accounted for 99% of total cherry imports.


China’s imports of bananas from Southeast Asia and South America have been steadily increasing owing to the limited banana cultivation area available domestically. In 2019, China imported 1.94 million tons of bananas (+26% YOY). The main source countries for bananas were the Philippines (1.03 million tons, +2% YOY), Ecuador (459,000 tons, +91% YOY) and Vietnam (278,000 tons, +105% YOY). Imports from these three countries accounted for 91% of total banana imports.


In 2019, China imported 432,000 tons of oranges (+11% YOY). The main source countries were Egypt (191,000 tons, +107% YOY), South Africa (115,000 tons, −18% YOY), Australia (52,000 tons, −17% YOY), Spain (42,000 tons, +51% YOY) and the U.S. (29,000 tons, −52% YOY). Imports from these five countries accounted for 99% of total orange imports.


China imported 129,000 tons of kiwifruit in 2019 (+14% YOY). The main exporters of kiwifruit to China were New Zealand (98,000 tons, +11% YOY) and Chile (21,000 tons, +33% YOY), with these two countries accounting for 93% of total kiwifruit imports.


The top ten overseas markets for China by export value were Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Russia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Kazakhstan.

China’s top-performing export fruit categories in 2019 largely followed the country’s traditional fruit cultivation strengths and included fresh apples ($1.25 billion, −4% YOY), fresh grapes ($990 million, +43% YOY), citrus (including mandarin oranges and satsuma oranges, $840 million, −3% YOY), fresh pears ($570 million, +8% YOY), fresh peaches and nectarines ($200 million, +119% YOY), other fruits ($210 million, +104% YOY), grapefruit ($190 million, −3% YOY), and lemons and limes ($160 million, +61% YOY). These eight categories accounted for approximately 80% of China’s fruit exports by value.


Owing to a sharp drop in production during the 2018/19 season, China’s domestically grown apples were in short supply in the spring of 2019, thereby driving up the price. By July of 2019, the wholesale and retail prices of apples had soared to their highest levels in almost a decade. However, as apples from the 2019/20 season started to hit the market in September, prices began to drop and ultimately reached normal levels in November.

As Chinese apples are predominantly exported to South Asian and Southeast Asian markets, where consumers are generally more sensitive toward price changes, these price fluctuations exerted a knock-on effect on exports. In 2019, China exported 971,000 tons of apples (−13% YOY). The main export destinations were Vietnam (113,000 tons, +28% YOY), Indonesia (119,000 tons, −10% YOY), Bangladesh (176,000 tons, +19% YOY), Thailand (97,000 tons, −6% YOY) and the Philippines (97,000 tons, −19% YOY). These five countries accounted for 62% of China’s apple exports.


In 2019, China exported 470,000 tons of pears (−4% YOY). The main export destinations were Vietnam (100,000 tons, +51% YOY), Indonesia (156,000 tons, −9% YOY), Thailand (47,000 tons, −3% YOY), Malaysia (30,000 tons, −12% YOY) and Hong Kong (30,000 tons, +1% YOY). These five markets accounted for 77% of China’s total pear exports.

Citrus (including mandarin oranges and satsuma oranges)

In 2019, China exported 640,000 tons of citrus (−1% YOY). The main export destinations were Vietnam (137,000 tons, −5% YOY), Malaysia (85,000 tons, +19% YOY), Indonesia (59,000 tons, +707% YOY), Russia (74,000 tons, −17% YOY), the Philippines (43,000 tons, +3% YOY), Thailand (35,000 tons, −56% YOY), Kazakhstan (52,000 tons, −2% YOY) and Myanmar (44,000 tons, −13% YOY). These eight countries accounted for 83% of China’s total citrus exports.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.