ANA rides out electronics slump by shipping ludicrously priced Japanese fruit to Hong Kong

This pair of melons went for 1.6 million yen in May—the third highest price.
This pair of melons went for 1.6 million yen in May—the third highest price.
Image: The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

All Nippon Airways’s shipments of electronic gadgets from Panasonic and Sony have nosedived, so the airline has moved on to an entirely different luxury product: extraordinarily pricey Japanese fruit that is being devoured by wealthy individuals in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is famous for its high prices for real estate, but Japanese produce is in a world of its own. Classic square watermelons (US$125) have given way to heart-shaped melons ($350) and even fruit with a face ($1000 and up). “Eggs of the Sun” mangoes have been known to sell for $2,000 each, which rather makes even a $25 apple seem cheap.

Japanese fruits are especially popular during the lunar new year, when fruit baskets are often exchanged as gifts. An expensive basket of fruit for a government official can “fly under the ethics radar” in circumstances where cash or an expensive watch might raise eyebrows.

An ANA official told Bloomberg that the company would eventually like to expand into same-day delivery in mainland China as well because there “are a lot of rich people” there. By that criteria, ANA might want to cast an eye towards Moscow, where Japan’s square watermelons are currently going for $860 each—a very sweet deal indeed.