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Online sales spur China calls for more fruit

Chinese officials have called on Cambodia to increase fruit exports amid an expected rise in domestic demand for fresh produce fuelled by online sales.

Feng Bo, deputy major of Ping Xiang city of Guangxi province, last week said fruit imports from ASEAN nations must increase from an estimated 1 million tonnes per year to accommodate increasing sales of fruit online via websites such as Alibaba.

“One website is already selling fruit online and there are more websites going to start... In 2013, online fruit sales in China totaled around $81 million,” Feng Bo said.

“One million tonnes of fruit [from ASEAN countries] will not be enough for China’s market. We are looking to import more, especially from Cambodia. Therefore, I would like suggest agriculture officials in Cambodia discuss the issue with us as soon as possible,” he added.

Cambodia currently exports dragon fruit, rambutan, durian, mangosteen and longan to China via Thailand or Vietnam.

Sreng Sreang, president of Pailin Logan Association, said his association produced 1,210 tonnes of the fruit during the last harvest season. Of the total haul, about 676 tonnes was shipped to China via Thailand.

Sreang expects exports to China to increase to more than 1,215 tonnes at the end of the 2014 harvest season.

“The demand of longan is increasing annually. Price is also stable and increasing gradually,” he said.

“There is demand, but there is still the issue of our capacity. Even if we expand capacity year-on-year, the demand still outweighs our supply.”

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