The price of Thai durian at the wholesale markets in Chanthaburi and Rayong provinces has steadily increased following the launch of the online supermarket.
Ms Charin Sirkkarn, a purchashing officer of Superfruit Thailand, a Thai company selected by Alibaba to export durian to China, admitted that she was surprised with the unusually quick and substantial online purchase of durian by Chinese consumers on the first day of the launch of the online sale.
There were about 60,000 pre-orders of durian after the launch of the online sale via Tmall.com on Thursday (April 19), she said.
During Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma’s visit to Thailand on April 19, the Ministry of Commerce and Alibaba Group have launched Thai durian sale campaign in Alibaba’s Tmall.com, China’s largest online retailing website which has access to over 1.4 billion Chinese consumers.
Ms Charin said she was pleased with the unexpected response and the good price for the durian. She expressed optimism that Thai exporters would be able to meet the demand of Chinese consumers in case there are more orders.
As a result of the unexpected online sale, she said that the price of Grade A durian at the wholesale markets has gone up to 78 baht per kilogramme from 65-70 baht and the Grad B fruit from 55 to 65 baht/kg.
A durian orchard owner in Chanthaburi, Mr Boonruang Prathum, said representatives of Alibaba’s Tmall online supermarket visited his orchard to observe the fruit trees and durian fruits. The same representative returned again to check the quality of the fruits after they were cut to make sure that they meet the required quality.
He said that he was able to sell his durian at 110 baht/kg by average which is higher than the previous years and he expected the good selling price to be sustainable.
However, he said he was worried that some orchard owners might want quick money and cut the fruits prematurely which would make affect the quality of the durian and, in the end, would spoil the image of Thai durian as a whole.