"Chinese consumption on the swallow nest this year has reached 800 tons, and Indonesia has supplied 80 percent of the entire demand. The rest is imported from Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand," Jerry Hidayat, General Manager of the Kalimantan Nest Trading company said here, Sunday.
Hidayat noted that Indonesian swallow nest exporters have a large opportunity to penetrate into the Chinese markets, because demands on the product has significantly increased.
Indonesia has turned into a main player in exporting the swallow nest, after the Chinese government opened its market in 2014.
Indonesia and its neighbor Malaysia now have competed to export the swallow nest or commonly dubbed as the "white gold" to China.
In 2015, Indonesia has registered its three swallow nest distributors, while Malaysia has nine. Moreover in 2016, some six Indonesian companies earned direct exports permits from the Chinese government, but 16 Malaysian exporters have already penetrated into the market.
"However, Indonesian companies played in more larger level, because one company could hire some 300 labors," Hidayat remarked.
In 2017, he stressed, Indonesia is leading in the swallow nest exports to China, mainly after the Chinese government banned Malaysia to distribute its swallow nest for six months due to the avian flu outbreak.
"This year is the momentum for Indonesia to reach 60 million US dollar exports, while Malaysia only earns 20 million US dollar," he emphasized.
Most exporters, according to Hidayat, collect the swallow nest from the islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi, while the processing part is performed in Central Java province.
Since Qing Dynasty took power in China, most Chinese people consumed the swallow nest for maintaining health. The "white gold" now has listed as one of the most popular dishes in numbers of Chinese restaurants.
Apart from medicine and dish, the swallow nest is also used as the raw material for cosmetic and other skincare products.
In Beijing, a gram of the swallow nest is priced for 180 RMB (Rp360 thousand).
"Most Chinese people are fond of the swallow nest imported from Indonesia, because of product`s good quality," Hidayat noted.
Hence, Siti Nugraha Mauludiah, the Consulate General of Indonesia to Shanghai, called on more Indonesian companies to enter the Chinese markets.
"We believe this Chinese market has provided a large opportunity for more Indonesian companies to export the premium and international standard swallow nest," she remarked.
Reported by M. Irfan Ilmie