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Yiwu, a magical city

Yiwu, a magical city.

It is not adjacent to a seaport, but it has trade relations with more than 230 countries and regions around the world; it is not a railway hub, but it has the China-Europe train with the longest route; it is just a county-level town, but it is the world’s capital of small commodities with a global reputation …

Yiwu, a magical city.

In the hot land of Yiwu, the legendary stories of “inexplicable”, “making something out of nothing” and “turning stone into gold” continue to be performed, becoming the epitome of Zhejiang’s deepening of reform and opening up.
Someone has calculated that there are 75,000 shops in Yiwu International Trade City. If you stay in front of each shop for 3 minutes, it will take more than a year to finish shopping based on 8 hours of shopping per day.
What’s even more remarkable is that these shops are connected to China’s 2.1 million small, medium and micro enterprises and 32 million industrial workers. 2.1 million kinds of commodities from all over the world are gathered in Yiwu, radiating to more than 230 countries and regions around the world. Yiwu, with the world’s largest small commodity wholesale market, has become an important gateway for “Made in China” to go global.
With a large population and little land, Yiwu people have been doing business since ancient times. They trade chicken feathers for sugar in the streets and gradually build a commodity trading market. “Look for the ‘bone’ and persist in it.” The market is getting better and better. big. However, small commodity transactions have always been dominated by domestic trade, and foreign trade is a new challenge for Yiwu people.

Yiwu, a magical city.

First generation market – 1982, Huqingmen Road market scene. Photo by Kim Bo-geun

“At that time, China had just joined the World Trade Organization. Yiwu took advantage of the situation and proposed the goal of building an international trade city, and began to expand the second phase of the International Trade City based on the first phase. However, this move was controversial.” At that time, he was a member of the Standing Committee of the Yiwu Municipal Party Committee and a publicity officer. Minister Chen Xiuxian recalled.
Although more and more foreign faces are beginning to appear in Yiwu, most merchants do not understand foreign trade, do not know computers, and are accustomed to “on-site, cash, spot” transactions. The market is filled with uneasiness at the beginning of integration with the world.

Wudai Market – In October 2002, District 1 of Yiwu International Trade City was completed and opened. Photo by Kim Bo-geun

In 2005, Yiwu City’s international trade volume exceeded domestic trade volume for the first time, marking the transformation of the Yiwu market from domestic trade to foreign trade. Europe, the Middle East, Africa and other places have become the main destinations for Yiwu’s overseas exports.

Wudai Market – In October 2004, District 2 of Yiwu International Trade City was completed and opened. Photo by Kim Bo-geun
Projects such as employment permits for foreign merchants in Yiwu, approval of visa notifications for inviting foreigners to China, review and approval of business trips abroad, registration of foreign-invested enterprises and branches, annual inspections of foreign-invested enterprises, etc., have all been decentralized to Yiwu, which has lifted the pressure for Yiwu’s opening up and rise. Institutional constraints.

Yiwu International Trade City merchants. Photo by Lu Bin
“For us, the biggest change is that it is easier to export goods.” Lou Baojuan, who has been specializing in New Year paintings in the market for more than 30 years, clearly remembers that in the beginning, all goods had to be exported from Guangzhou, and it took three or four days to transport them from Yiwu to Guangzhou. Slowly, goods can be loaded into containers in Yiwu and delivered to Ningbo Zhoushan Port on the same day. Later, customs declaration can also be completed in Yiwu. “The market is growing, and our foreign trade business is getting better and better.” Lou Baojuan looked proud.
Yiwu International Trade City is also “growing up” day by day. In 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2011, the first to fifth phases of the International Trade City were opened successively, and the entire market has undergone earth-shaking changes.

In March 2011, the State Council officially approved the “Overall Plan for Comprehensive International Trade Reform Pilot in Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province”, making Yiwu the first county-level city comprehensive reform pilot approved by the State Council in the country. Among them, the exploration of market procurement and trade methods is the core task, and since then, convenient measures such as paperless customs clearance have been launched. “With market procurement, the export of small commodities has become more convenient. After the 24-hour paperless customs clearance of export goods is implemented, the review and release time of customs declaration forms will only take 1 minute at the fastest.” The relevant person in charge of Yiwu Customs said.
The reform has greatly stimulated the vitality of Yiwu market. One data is enough to prove it: Yiwu’s export volume will increase 21 times in 2022 compared with 2010, and its proportion in the country will increase from 0.1% before the reform to 1.8%.

On September 28, the 19th route of the China-Europe (Yi-Xin-Europe) train – Yiwu-Poj (Georgia) made its debut. Wu Fengyu
It takes about 40 days to ship goods by sea, while it only takes 20 days for ‘Yixinou’.

During the National Day holiday, Yiwu International Trade City was crowded with customers. Photo by Wu Fengyu
In the past 10 years, from the 1st to the 8701st train, from the 1st line to the 19th line, the “Yixin-Europe” China-Europe freight train has radiated to more than 50 countries and regions, reaching more than 100 overseas stations. So far this year, as of October 10, the train has sent a total of 166,000 TEUs of goods, a year-on-year increase of 18%. The “Yixin-Europe” China-Europe freight train has smoothed international logistics and brought business.
As night falls, the exotic streets of Yiwu Binwang Business District light up. People of all colors and costumes can be seen here at any time. Marco Polo’s description of ancient Chinese markets seems to be reappearing in Yiwu.
On the busy Chouzhou Road, the Bedi restaurant run by Muhannaid, a native of Xinyiwu, is brightly lit. There is already a long queue of people waiting to check in on the first floor of the restaurant.
Bedi Restaurant, formerly known as Flower Restaurant. “In 2014, President Xi Jinping told the story of my roots in Yiwu at the opening ceremony of the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. I was so moved that I renamed the restaurant ‘Bedi’.” He told reporters that in his In my hometown of Jordan, “Bedi” means “home”. “I am 45 years old and have been in China for 23 years, most of the time in Yiwu. This is my home.” Muhannaid said.

Mohannaid (right in the picture), a native of New Yiwu, is busy in the restaurant.
In Yiwu, in addition to Muhannaid’s Arabic restaurants, there are also authentic Turkish, Spanish, Korean and other restaurants.
Behind the various restaurants are people who come to Yiwu from all over the world.
Today, Yiwu has foreign businessmen from more than 100 countries and regions around the world. They came for the dream of doing business and getting rich, and stayed because of the tolerant and open atmosphere, and thus they have the same identity – New Yiwu people.

Yiwu International Trade City is busy with foreign purchases.
Yiwu’s high-quality and low-price small commodities have attracted batches of foreign businessmen like Bi Xunu. Data show that there are now more than 15,000 foreign businessmen resident in Yiwu; there are 8,917 registered foreign business entities in Yiwu, accounting for one-sixth of Zhejiang Province.
It’s easy to gather people, but hard to keep them. People from all over the world gather in Yiwu, “This place of peace is my hometown.”
Start where you need it. In order to facilitate foreign businessmen, Yiwu established an international trade service center as early as 2012, integrating 125 foreign-related matters from 12 departments such as public security, commerce, taxation, and customs, realizing that foreign-related matters can only be handled through “one door” and services “One stop shop”.

Chinese and foreign residents celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival in Jiangdong Street, Yiwu City. Photo by Lu Bin
On the moonlit night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the full moon hangs high, and the Jimingshan community in Jiangdong Street, Yiwu, illuminated by the moonlight, is particularly joyful. Dozens of people from different countries gathered together to make moon cakes, eat moon cakes and talk about homely things. In this place known as the “United Nations Community”, nearly 1,400 New Yiwu people from 74 countries live. “We are a family,” the Nepali businessman said.