The consumer market for Agarwood is well developed in the Middle East and Northeast Asia where Agarwood has been used for over one thousand years. Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok are major traders of Agarwood while Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia are major producers. The increasing scarcity of illegal forest Agarwood makes plantation grown Agarwood much sought after to meet global demand.
Taiwan has long been a major trader in Agarwood for both medicinal and cultural uses. According to official records, 6,843 tonnes of unprocessed Agarwood was imported to Taiwan in the ten years to 2003. Prices of Agarwood for medicinal use vary between US$ 3,000 to US$ 30,000 per kilogram and processed oil between US$ 7,000 to US$ 61,000 a litre. Large high quality pieces suitable for ornamental sculptures can sell for up to US$ 100,000 per kilogram.
In Osaka, Japan, a shop known as Jinkoh-ya (literally, “Agarwood Store”) has been trading Agarwood products for over 350 years. During the period 1991-1998, according to official Customs figures, 277,396 kilograms of unprocessed Agarwood was imported into Japan, or an average of over 34 tonnes a year. A 2004 price survey of unprocessed Agarwood pieces found prices ranging from US$ 320 to US$ 22,700 per kilogram with the highest grades Agarwood selling for between US$ 9,000 to US$ 272,000 per kilogram.
Demand for Agarwood products in the Middle East significantly exceeds Eastern Asia. One well known Saudi Arabian Agarwood oud oil retailer specializing in oud (agar oil) has over 550 retail outlets across 17 countries with over 600,000 customers and is one of the world’s largest perfume retailers in a market worth US$ 3.3 billion a year. The company imports 45 tonnes of unprocessed Agarwood yearly to produce 400 different fragrances with oud as the basic ingredient and has a production capacity of 30 million bottles of perfume a year.