Making durian a lucrative export product

DKing Sdn Bhd managing director Simon Chin (left) with Duricious Sdn Bhd founder and director Leron Yee at the Export Excellence Awards 2022 Gala Night at M Resort & Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR: For Malaysian company Duricious, the high demand for durian locally and internationally provided the impetus to focus on exporting the King of Fruits.

Duricious, which won the Exporter of the Year title at the Star Media Group Export Excellence Awards 2022 for RM50mil in annual sales turnover for products and up to RM20mil for services, noted that while it does have a strong local market, exporting enables it to reach a wider audience and to contribute to Malaysia’s economy by sharing this national treasure with the world, by successfully exporting durian products to 13 countries.

By targeting the overseas market, the company managed to generate the revenue that is necessary to sustain its business and expand its operations.

Currently exports account for 80% of its sales, with the local market representing 20%. This underscores the importance of pursuing an overseas market, which it continues to emphasise as part of its operations in striving for continued growth and success.


The biggest hurdle that Duricious’s marketing arm DKing Sdn Bhd faced in its exporting journey was cash flow.

The reason was because the durian is considered a high-value product and for that, international customers typically do not provide full upfront payment.

They would, instead, pay a 30%-50% deposit, then full payment when the product is ready for export – a setback that the company has to bear.

In addition to cash flow, there was also the need to build and extend its factories and equipment to maintain the current export volume, while reserving some stock to prepare for non-seasonal periods.

To overcome these challenges, it approached banking tradeline facilities in order to solve cash flow problems.

Through careful financial planning and management, it was able to push through and continue expanding its operations.

The willingness to adapt and find creative solutions to challenges has enabled Duricious to achieve its goals and to continue thriving in the export market.

Foreign partners

In the export business, most factories in Malaysia focus on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) processing, with customers ordering components as part of their own brand.

The company, however, focuses on its own brand by appointing sole distributors to handle sales activities in select countries.

There are joint ventures with partners in China, Australia and Singapore to run daily operational and marketing activities.

This offers a competitive edge in the overseas market as it handles its own brand with high commitment, even offering a “farm-to-table” approach.

To maintain its brand presence, the company focuses on organising big overseas events such as the Malaysia International Durian Cultural Fest (MIDCF) to educate foreigners about the Malaysian durian and promote its brand.

The company also works with local government agencies such as Tourism Malaysia, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) and Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) for support overseas.

Adaptive strategies

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there were many changes in global trade policies, economic conditions and the US dollar value.

As an exporting company, DKing adapted by being flexible and proactive.

One major factor that has influenced the exporting strategy is the fluctuation of exchange rates.

To minimise the fluctuating impact of the US dollar, it is accepting the Chinese yuan as a payment method.

Following the advice of its bank’s foreign exchange team, it started hedging to cushion the currency decrease so that its costing calculations are not affected.

These steps reduced exposure to vagaries of the US dollar.

Fortunately, despite the pandemic, the fruit experienced a sustained double-digit growth in demand within the export markets over the past few years.

With China being its biggest market that makes up to 60% of its total export volume, the fruit has found a huge market, especially in the mid-high market segment.

Future prospects

The company intends to expand its customer base by targeting new markets and developing relationships with potential clients through trade shows and business events.

It will also invest in its factory and equipment to maintain the production capacity and ensure timely delivery of its products.

In addition, Duricious has plans to strengthen research and development into creating more durian delicacies to fulfil market needs.

It also aims to investigate the capital market to start leveraging on additional funding for growth.

The durian is still considered new in the market and is below RM1bil in market size. However, this industry has a huge potential in the coming years.

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