A foreign businessman (left) shops at a toy store at Yiwu International Trade City in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, on Feb 2. WU FENGYU/FOR CHINA DAILY
Government initiatives, end of COVID controls, global demand fueling rise in sales
Orders from all over the world have been flooding into Yiwu factories since earlier this month, a snapshot of global trade in the post-pandemic era that indicates a strong recovery for foreign trade in Zhejiang province in early 2023.
Statistics show that on Feb 2, 75,000 merchants participated in the opening ceremony at Yiwu International Trade City — the world's largest distribution center for small commodities — placing orders on-site after almost three years of being unable to do so in person since the COVID-19 epidemic began.
Lu Qingrong, manager of the Jingrong Toy Company, said that orders have already been scheduled for May and June, and that this year's sales are expected to be 30 percent higher than the previous two years.
For the past three years, Yiwu's manufacturing companies have devoted more energy to innovation and quality as they have upgraded, in a bid to underpin steady and accelerated growth.
Lu added that Jingrong will focus on strengthening innovation and research to meet increasing demands and plans to launch at least 10 new products every week.
In addition, the company is currently adding more production lines, which will raise efficiency and is expected to increase production by 50 percent.
"Our Bare Leg Artifact has been a popular product for the past two years," said Huang Zuqun, president of the Bonas Group, which specializes in making socks.
"We have developed a molding process with equipment manufacturers that makes the socks more beautiful and more comfortable."
The company's growth rate has remained at around 10 percent for the past three years. During the pandemic, Bonas sped up investment in R&D and the digital transformation of its workshops, and enhanced market competitiveness by launching new products and raising quality and efficiency via an optimized working process.
Wang Gensheng, who sells tools at Yiwu International Trade City, said: "I have called many customers today. About 80 percent of our former customers are looking forward to purchasing in Yiwu as soon as possible. We expect that this year's foreign trade orders will increase by 60 percent."
Wang said that he made the first deal on Feb 2 with an Ethiopian businessman, who purchased 600,000 yuan ($88,442) worth of kitchenware and bathroom products.
The growing international reach of Yiwu's commodities is largely due to initiatives implemented by authorities in the past few months, among them the Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe cargo train, which plays a vital role.
Around 60 Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe cargo trains were dispatched during the Spring Festival holiday.