Customs agents in China have confiscated 600 metric tons (1.3 million pounds) of e-liquid being smuggled into the country from the United States.
The Chinese news agency Xinhua is reporting that the product has a value of about $44 million (300 million yuan). Twenty people have been placed under “criminal detention” after the seizure.
The story has very little detail about what was seized, describing it only as “electronic cigarette oil,” which could mean that it’s PG or VG or finished e-liquid. But the $44 million figure would seem to indicate something more than PG or VG in the containers.
The customs seizure was a massive operation, with 320 police raiding four separate companies, described as being based in Shenzhen and Xiamen, and supplying “the majority of the e-cigarette oil in the Chinese market.”
That information came from Zhou Bin, head of Gongbei Customs Office, according to Xinhua. Zhou told the news agency that Chinese e-cigarette sales have grown 300 percent annually ”in recent years.”
He also said that most of the e-liquid sold in China is imported. That itself is interesting, considering that both e-cigarette and e-liquid production originated in China, and there are still major e-liquid producers like Hangsen and Dekang operating in the country.