Half-year report: ASEAN is China’s biggest dietary supplements export destination, with good growth in Middle East

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

ASEAN was China’s biggest export destination for dietary supplement ingredients and products in the first half of this year. ©Getty Images
ASEAN was China’s biggest export destination for dietary supplement ingredients and products in the first half of this year. ©Getty Images

Related tags: China, Exports, South east asia

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was China’s biggest export destination for dietary supplement ingredients and products in the first half of this year, while the Middle East is likely to offer further growth potential, says a report by China’s industry body.

The latest report​ released by China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMPHIE) detailed the country’s export and import of dietary supplements in the first six months of this year.

China’s total dietary supplements exports as of June was worth US$990m. This is a 10.4% increase from the same period last year. There were 1,743 Chinese enterprises involved in the export business and this was 4.4% more than last year. 

A breakdown of the statistics showed that ASEAN was the biggest export destination, with US$230m worth of goods exported to the region.

Within ASEAN, China exported the most products (worth US$40m) to Myanmar and Philippines each.

The next largest export destination is Hong Kong, where goods worth US$170 were exported to the region. This is in fact a 57.4% jump from last year, but it should be noted that the products were not entirely for domestic market consumption and a bulk of which were traded through Hong Kong.

This also goes to show the importance of Hong Kong as an important trading port for China, said the report.

Despite disruptions caused by COVID-19 and US-China trade conflicts, the report said that China’s export to North America rose by 2.1%.

The country is also China’s third largest export destination, responsible for 18% of China’s exports (worth US$150m).  

Although the exports to the Middle East remained negligible, the report said that the region presented the greatest growth opportunity.

This is because exports of dietary supplements to the region had went up by 43.1%.

Thailand and Australia were two of the countries which have seen a reduced export from China. Exports to these two countries dropped by 18.9% and 21.3% respectively.

Overall, more than half of China’s exports (55%) was circulated within Asia, and this was 20.3% higher than last year.  

“Although there are impacts from negative factors, the exports of dietary supplement in the first half of 2020 continued a growing trajectory.

“The major export destinations (in terms of continents) of dietary supplements were Asia, followed by North America, and Europe. Exports to the three continents were 87% of the entire exports, which shows that export is highly tied (to these three continents),”​ said the report. 

Exports stabilising

As a result of COVID-19 lockdown and the Chinese Spring festival, China’s dietary supplement exports in February dived 24.6% but quickly rebound in March and April and stabilised in May and June. 

The report said China started off with good export volume in January, achieving US$180m worth of exports, which was also 21.6% higher than last year.

With the lockdown enforced in late January and the Chinese Spring festival, the reduced workforce led to a 24.6% decline in exports.

Gradual recovery was seen in March, where exports began to grow again, this time by 18.1% and later, by 30.7% in April. In these two months, the goods exported were worth US$210m and US$190m.

By May and June, exports started to stabilise and was on par with the performance last year. Goods exported in these two months were worth US$180m and US$160m respectively.

Key exporting provinces

Jiangsu, Guangdong, and Shandong were the top three exporting provinces, and were responsible for 51.1% of the country’s total exports.

Shanghai and Fujian followed next, and the latter delivered the biggest growth of 172.4% in terms of the value of goods exported.  

The second largest growth (32.8%) came from the Henan province. 

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