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Mainland Import Statistics: 2015 Another Fruitful Year

February 29, 2016
Imported fruit market in China, 2015 statistics

Unaffected by economic tides, China’s fruit import sector continued riding high in 2015. An analysis by Produce Report of data from China’s custom authorities shows the value of fruit imports into mainland China last year was $5.01 billion, a 16% increase year-on-year and the first time the figure has passed the $5 billion mark. 

Thailand was the largest exporter for the third year running, with imports of Thai fruit to China passing $1.06 billion. Rounding out the top three exporters for 2015 are Chile and Vietnam, which saw year-on-year growth in value of 25.12 and 26.26% respectively.

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Although the top-ten fruit exporting countries remained the same from 2014 to 2015, a major shakeup came in the form of New Zealand, which jumped from the number nine position to the number six position, with the value of its exports jumping by more than 78% compared to last year.

Australia, the 10th largest fruit exporter to China also had a strong year, with a value increase of over 60%. Ecuador, meanwhile, whose fruit exports rocketed up 800% in 2014, settled into a more sustainable growth rate for 2015 of just over 19%.

Notable national-level statistics from 2015 also include an over 1000% increase in the value of the Netherlands’ fruit exports. The increase was driven entirely by pears, the only fruit which the country is permitted to export to China, approval for which came in 2014. Egypt also saw 325% growth in value last year. And Mexico, Canada, Japan and Spain also saw growth of more than 100%.

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From a product perspective, bananas continued to be the top valued import in 2015 despite a drop of 4.2% compared to last year. Amidst an overall slowdown in banana imports, Ecuador stood out, with an increase in banana exports to China of just under 20% compared to last year. Banana’s are Ecuador’s sole crop permitted to be exported to China, but the country was nevertheless seventh of the list of top fruit exporters to China based solely on $220 million worth of banana imports.

Cherries had a good year in 2015, with imports to China rising just over 27%. Exporting countries were heavily reliant on the China market over this period: in the 2014/15 season nearly 80% of Chile’s production was bound for China; in 2015, 70% of British Columbian cherries were shipped to China; 30% of the 2015/16 New Zealand crop was exported to China; and China continued to be a top export market for Northwest US cherries. 

Avocados also had strength growth of almost 280%, despite slowing slightly after three years of annual increases of more than 400%. 

Growth has also shown strong shifts from year to year for some products. Apples managed to bounce back strongly in 2015 after poor year in 2014. But following a good performance last year, the lemon and lime category fell by more than 44% and out of the top 10 imports. 

Image: Wikipedia Charts: MZMC/PMA

Imported fruit market in China, 2015 statistics

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