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World's largest small-commodities market continues to expand its influence
Fu Rongzheng, general manager of an internet technology company in Yiwu that is mainly engaged in marketing and brand building, said at the time, "the new foreign trade, new e-commerce and new retail brought by the approval of the pilot zone will bring a new climax to the development of cross-border e-commerce in Yiwu".
True to Fu's words, Yiwu's commodities are now exported to more than 210 countries and regions. Statistics from Yiwu customs show that the city's exports of small commodities more than tripled between 2012 and 2021, increasing from $11.93 billion to $40.78 billion and accounting for 31.2 percent of the country's total.
"In the very beginning, when we came to Yiwu, this small-commodity city was not as large as it is now," Gholamhossein recalled. "However, the city's scale and the categories of commodities are growing, with the market being more and more international."
Indeed, many people around the world, and even in China, are probably unaware that they have intimate connections with products from Yiwu, ranging from daily life items to sports-related products.
For instance, since the early 2010s, the rising Christmas-related exports from Yiwu have made the city the world's largest manufacturing and distribution center for Christmas products, including tree decorations, Yuletide clothing, greeting cards, festive lights and packaging. Some 80 percent of the world's Christmas goods come from this city, according to statistics from the city's commerce bureau.
More recently, orders for British flags began to flood into Yiwu factories after Queen Elizabeth II died in September, and manufacturers have been busy producing and delivering soccer products related to the FIFA 2022 World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on Nov 20. To facilitate the delivery of the merchandise to fans across the globe, Yiwu has even set up the World Cup Special Transport Network, by which goods can travel from the ports of Ningbo and Shanghai to Hamad Port in Qatar in just 20 to 25 days.
In addition, with the approach of winter, Yiwu has seen surging demand from European countries for heating equipment amid the looming energy crisis there. Exports of products such as electric blankets and electric heaters have, so far in 2022, increased by 41.9 percent year-on-year to 190 million yuan ($26.2 million), according to the city's customs authorities.
Fang Xiaoying and Qi Xiao contributed to this story.