SEPANG: The first chartered flight with shipments of whole Musang King durian fruits is on its way to Henan province in China and more are expected to follow soon.
Malaysia's special envoy to China, Tan Kok Wai, said the nation is aiming to export about 8,000 tonnes of durian annually valued at around RMB800mil (about RM470mil) via chartered flights.
"Less than 1% of the Chinese population have tasted Musang King before and exporting the whole fruits to China will allow us to expand the market even further," he said.
Tan said this after a soft launch to ship the first 20 tonnes of Musang King to the Henan capital, Zhengzhou.
Tan said the new exports would also complement existing durian tourism in Malaysia where tourists would come in droves to taste fruits fresh from the farm.
"Many Chinese tourists have expressed their enthusiasm to visit Malaysia after tasting durian as some of them would also like to visit the durian orchards to test fresh durians," he said.
Malaysia began to export whole durian fruits to China in June.
Previously, only durian slices and pastes were exported to China for consumption and flavouring of other foods products such as ice cream.
Last year, Malaysia's total durian export to China was valued at RM9.44mil in 235.62 tonnes.