With the aim of mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on foreign trade, the Yiwu Municipal Bureau of Commerce and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) have joined hands to launch the Zhejiang (Yiwu) Export Online Fair of Consumer Goods (Hong Kong Session) on hktdc.com Sourcing platform, helping foreign trade enterprises to navigate the pandemic.
A total of 21 participating foreign trade enterprises are showcasing a range of products spanning nine categories from garments and textiles, gifts and premium, building materials and hardware to electronics and electrical appliances. Each enterprise is able to display nearly 630 products at HKTDC's online marketplace — hktdc.com Sourcing — with the option of promoting them year-round via Exhibition Online, which is an extension of the HKTDC’s trade fairs.
Located in Zhejiang Province, Yiwu has emerged as a giant in small commodities trading and a hotspot for investment from home and abroad. Yiwu is a county-level city with an area of 1,105 square kilometres and a registered population of 836,000 along with 1.521 million non-resident workers. The city fosters market-oriented industrialisation, internationalisation and integration of urban and rural areas. It has embarked on a regional development path with its own characteristics.
In March 2011, with the approval of the State Council, the city launched a comprehensive international trade reform pilot scheme. In 2019, Yiwu’s exports totalled RMB286.79bn and imports stood at RMB10bn. In addition, the city accounted for one-eighth of Zhejiang’s exports and its export volume exceeded 18 provinces in Mainland China.
Growing online and offline trade
The Yiwu commodities market has an operating area of more than 6.4 million square metres, incorporating 75,000 business booths. Trading covers 26 major categories and more than 1.8 million kinds of commodities. It has also compiled and released the first Market Credit Index and the industry standard for small commodity classification and coding in Mainland China. Major organisations such as the United Nations and the World Bank have recognised it as the world’s largest wholesale market for small commodities. Along with promoting the continued prosperity, the Yiwu commodities market has been strongly encouraging online-offline integration and import-export interaction.
Yiwu’s e-commerce sector is also booming. With more than 310,000 registered e-commerce seller accounts, the density of domestic online traders ranks first in Mainland China, and that of foreign traders ranks second. Its courier operation is second only to Guangzhou in terms of business volume and ranks second among other major cities in the country. It also accounts for about one-thirteenth of Mainland China’s courier business and is the only county-level city in the country to receive approval from the State Council to build a national-level, cross-border comprehensive e-commerce trial zone. The construction of Yiwu China Imported Commodities City and other daily consumer goods import exhibition and sales platforms introduced a total of 100,000 overseas commodities from more than 100 countries and regions.
Serving the world
More than 560,000 overseas merchants purchase goods from Yiwu every year. There are more than 13,000 overseas merchants from over 100 countries and regions permanently stationed in Yiwu. Commodities are exported to more than 210 countries and regions in the world, and 65 per cent of the market is outward bound.
The city has attracted more than 20 multinational retail conglomerates such as Wal-Mart and Metro, and over 30 well-known local supermarket chains to purchase there regularly. Moreover, there are upwards of 8,000 foreign investment entities in the city, including more than 2,000 foreign-invested partnerships, accounting for about 70 per cent of Mainland China’s total.
Yiwu operates the world’s longest freight train service running from the city to Madrid, Spain. The construction of Yiwu−Ningbo−Zhoushan Open Corridor is accelerating, and the city is the first county-level city in Mainland China to establish an international mail exchange office and station. It is also the home of the province’s only temporary open railway port, fourth airport, and fourth bonded logistics centre. The foreign-related management service system has been upgraded with the establishment of an international trade service centre that provides one-stop services to foreign investors.
Investment and entrepreneurship made easy
Yiwu has registered 13 national industrial bases, one national economic and technological development zone, one provincial industrial agglomeration zone and a provincial high- and new- technology zone. There are 26,700 industrial enterprises and several industry “champions” have emerged, such as seamless underwear which accounts for 30 per cent of the world’s total production and 80 per cent of Mainland China’s.
The number of market players in the city exceeded 570,000, accounting for one-thirteenth of the province and ranking the city first in all the counties of the country. As such, it is recognised as one of the top ten cities in Mainland China for venture entrepreneurs. Moreover, modern service industries such as conventions, exhibitions, finance and logistics are well-developed. The city also organises national exhibitions such as Yibo Fair, Cultural Fair, Forest Expo and Travel Expo, and other professional exhibitions for imports, e-commerce and equipment are also on the regular agenda. On average, there are more than 150 exhibitions held each year. Supported by flexible financial services and convenient and efficient logistics, Yiwu is attracting more foreign entrepreneurs to either invest in or start businesses.
Logistics services in Yiwu cover 321 prefecture-level cities in Mainland China, forming a logistics network that extends from home to other parts of the world. It is listed as an international land port city by the United Nations ESCAP. Global courier giants such as FedEx and world-renowned shipping companies such as Maersk have set up branches or offices in Yiwu.
Enhanced reforms and innovations
In addition to being approved by the State Council to carry out pilot projects in comprehensive international trade reforms, Yiwu was also given approval to carry out a number of national-level pilot reform projects, including a nationwide modern logistics innovation development pilot scheme and an e-commerce big data application statistics pilot scheme. Meanwhile, strategic co-operation is under way with Alibaba Group to jointly build the eWTP Global Innovation Centre to accelerate the establishment of future international and digital trading rules. Yiwu is also the first county-level city in Mainland China authorised to review and approve invitation of foreigners to the country. Moreover, Yiwu is the first pilot city in Mainland China to launch personal cross-border RMB businesses.
All are warmly welcomed to Yiwu, the capital of small commodities.
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